When the Rebels welcome the Reds on Friday they will have in the back of their minds that they have won 5 and lost 5 this season so far.
The “W” needs to start coming now otherwise they may find themselves coming up short when it comes to the playoffs positions.
The Reds are coming off a win over the Sunwolves and have been a team that have been improving throughout, so taking them lightly will be a huge mistake for Wessels and his team.
The Rebels are coming off a bye and a lost on the road against the Hurricanes which makes this such an important match not just for the Aussie conference but also for the playoffs.
Ross Haylett-Petty and centre Billy Meakes have been included in the side’s Starting XV for the home side.
The loss of Tom English will be felt in the backline as he has become a standout player for the team this season.
This week also sees the return of Hardwick who will start from the bench.
The Reds have made two change to their side for this clash with JP Smith that will start in the frontrow while Angus Blyth will make his first Super Rugby start at lock.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Rebels have won three of their last four Super Rugby matches at home against the Reds (L1), including a 26-point win in their last such fixture, their biggest ever victory over the Reds in the competition.
- The Reds have one Super Rugby victory from their last 11 Australian local derbies away from home (L10), that victory came in May 2017 in a visit to the Rebels in Melbourne.
- The Rebels have won three of their last four Super Rugby games at home, despite being tryless in the first half of two of those fixtures.
- The Reds have beaten 28 defenders per game in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other team in the competition and eight per game more than the Rebels (20).
- Quade Cooper (Rebels) has made nine try assists so far this Super Rugby campaign, the most of any player in the competition and more than twice as many as Reds’ best Samu Kerevi (4).
Prediction: The Rebels is just too good a team to loose this one, Rebels by 10
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Rob Leota, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Matt Gibbon
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Reece Hodge
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Isaac Lucas