Planet Rugby

Preview: Rebels v Force

05th April 2013 07:50

Share:

Patrick Dellitt W Force v Rebels SR 2013

Force v Rebels: Desperate times in Perth

The Melbourne Rebels have limped back to Australia after a brutal South African tour to face the Western Force at nib Stadium.

The shocked by on-field and off-field issues, the Rebels must first visit Perth before finally returning to Melbourne.

The Western Force sit one position above the Rebels in the standings, separated by a single point. The Rebels scored their only win of the season against the Force in Round 1, while the Force's only win was a far more credible one, beating the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. That said, the Force were the embarrassing first scalp of the debutant Kings when they toured South Africa in February.

Don't be underwhelmed by this encounter. Both teams are playing for pride and a semblance of dignity. It will be an urgent, desperate encounter with both sides tripping over themselves to prove they can play a quality game of rugby.

A loss for either side will essentially see their season down the plug-hole. Thus, a win this week will provide some relief, confidence and a kick start before the Australian super rugby season pauses to host the British and Irish Lions.

The Rebels beat the Force in their last encounter, at AAMI Park, scoring three tries to two in a game where the forwards dominated. Evidence to that can be seen in the score sheet where the Rebels hooker Ged Robinson scored their first try for the season which was then followed up by second rower Hugh Pyle.

This game will be won also by the forward pack who can gain ascendancy early. The Rebels forwards have been pummelled in recent weeks and may struggle to lift for this game, but if they've learnt the hard lessons from the Sharks and Cheetahs the Force forwards may be confronted by a group of men hellbent on redemption.

The Rebels will miss three key starters for this game, number eight and captain Gareth Delve, tighthead Laurie Weeks and nuggety inside centre Lachlan Mitchell. Delve will be replaced at 8 by Scott Higginbotham, who will also captain the side.

Delve is suffering from multiple sore spots, while Mitchell is nursing a badly corked thigh. Weeks will again be replaced by Paul Alo-Emile while Lachlan Mitchell will be covered by former Western Force centre Rory Sidey.

The Force have an abundance of quality forwards, with several current or former Wallabies, Pekahou Cowan (prop), Matt Hodgson, Hugh McMeniman, Salesi Maafu and Richard Brown. Their potency has been well documented. Individually and as a unit, they have troubled the Rebels in recent games.

The Force's imported fly-half Sias Ebersohn should be too slick, too skilful and to quick for his opposite number Angus Roberts. Roberts made his name in grade rugby in Sydney but hasn't had the break game many were looking for.

The only major change for the Force will be the absence of Chris Eaton. The scrum-half has returned to New Zealand following the tragic death of his wife in a car accident. Eaton's absence will likely allow for the promotion of Michael Snowdon from the extended squad to a bench position.

The sides have both had weeks they'd rather forget. They're both looking to future but only one side will get the chance to resurrect 2013.

The battle to watch in this match will be between opposing centres Mitch Inman and Winston Stanley. The Force's Winston Stanley is a rough and tumble, fleet of foot utility back. Mitch Inman is a no-nonsense, big framed crash-baller. The phase play will develop from the ability of either man to bust a hole through the defensive line and stretch the opposition.

Force: 15 Will Tupou, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman , 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Toby Lynn , 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Kieran Longbottom.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Sam Norton-Knight.

Rebels: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Higginbotham, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Jarrod Saffy, 19 Jordy Reid, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Tom English, 22 Cooper Vuna.

Date: Saturday, 6 April
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19:40
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954