One team is playing for pride, the other to keep alive their play-off hopes. Desperation is a good thing if channeled correctly.
Winning on the road has been a real battle for the Waratahs, with their only away win this season coming in South Africa.
However, they are within a point of overtaking the Brumbies (who play the Bulls later Friday) at the top of the Australian conference.
The Waratahs have made no secret that they are aspiring to secure a top-two finish and the home ground advantage in the play-offs that goes with it.
But easy it won’t be.
The Rebels return home fresh from their first-ever victory against the Reds. The Rebels are also far more formidable at home, with three of their four victories this season having been in Melbourne.
The Waratahs have also not been the best team on the road, having won just once away from the home – mirroring a season that has a home-win record of just on 74 percent.
There is also no love lost between these two Australian franchises.
The Rebels openly state they view the Waratahs as their biggest rival, and love nothing more than defeating them.
Despite coming off back-to-back victories, Waratahs defensive coach Nathan Grey – who spent three years on the Rebels’ coaching staff – admitted getting a win in Melbourne won’t be easy.
“They are always tough to beat at home and they’ll have a lot of confidence highlighted by their first away win over the Reds,” said Grey.
“Plus in their last home game against the competition-leading Sharks, they put themselves in a position to win.
“They’ve got good support and they’ll have the crowd screaming for them.”
The Waratahs have been in tremendous form, dismantling the Lions in Sydney last Sunday and currently sitting second in the Australian conference.
However, after a first ever victory against the Reds last weekend Rebels coach Tony McGahan is confident his players can deliver back to back wins for the first time this season.
“We don’t have any doubt about what our players can deliver from a work ethic and standards point of view; that has been evident really over the last nine weeks, with their terrific application,” the coach explained.
“What we do need to make sure is that we turn up ready from a game management point of view.
“Our game management has been improving every week. Against the Waratahs, who have been in tremendous form, we need it to keep improving in order to stay connected in the game.”
2014: Waratahs won 32-8, Sydney
2013: Rebels won 24-22, Melbourne
2013: Waratahs won 31-26, Sydney
2012: Waratahs won 30-21, Sydney
2012: Waratahs won 35-19, Melbourne
2011: Waratahs won 28-9, Sydney
2011: Waratahs won 43-0, Melbourne
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga’a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Paul Alo-Emilie, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Angus Roberts.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson. .
Replacements – from: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro, 24 Pat McCutcheon, 25 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O’Brien (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)