There are two schools of thought on the Chiefs’ recent form. One suggest their are beginning to show signs of being vulnerable, while other feel their two draw in South Africa show just how dangerous they still are – given that on both occasions they closed a gap of 20-odd points in the final quarter.
They scored three tries in the final 11 minutes to draw 34-all with the Bulls and then came from 10-34 down at half-time against the Cheetahs to tie at 43-all.
Their supporters feel that incredible resilience is ample and proof that they can never be written off.
In stark contrast there Rebels are looking for their first ever win overseas, a feat which has eluded them by four points or less on three separate occasions. It includes a heartbreaking 30-33 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan said in order to break that duck on the road they are continuing to place an emphasis on improving their field kicking ahead of the game, after a few uncharacteristic errors against the Highlanders.
2013: Chiefs won 39-33, Melbourne
2011: Chiefs won 38-10, Hamilton
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Mils Muliaina, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick (captain), 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Ross Filipo, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Jordan Payne.
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga’a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emilie, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Tom Kingston, 23 Angus Roberts.
Referee: Matt O’Brien (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)