The Rebels and Vodacom Bulls are facing off this weekend and they have all to play for as we getting closer to the playoffs.
Both sides have won 6 and lost 5 so far this season and sitting on 28 log points.
The Brumbies have also took the top spot last weekend from the Rebels at the top of the Aussie Conference.
The Bulls are coming off another poor performance at home and need to get wins on the road if they want to stay in the race.
It is not going to be easy with the injuries that have suffered specially Kriel who is not available.
They did get the some good news with Gelant back in the mix after he withdrew last week due to illness.
He will start at fullback this week as we also see Hanro Liebenberg and Paul Schoeman back in the starting XV.
Marco van Staden will start from the bench this week as backup.
In the midfield we see again Kotze and Odendaal with Hendricks and Specman on the wings.
The Rebels coach Dave Wessels have included Hardwick and Rob Leota to the starting XV
Matt To’omua could make his debut for the club as he start on the bench after being released by Leicester.
Sam Jeffries also returns to the side on the bench.
Great news for Wessels was that Quade Cooper has been cleared to play this week and will start at 10 again.
It is gong to be a massive clash upfront as both teams have pride themselves this season with the quality they have shown in the set pieces.
Inconsistency has seen both teams struggle in recent weeks and they will want to come out on Friday and put a full 80 minutes on the park.
Pollard will lead the Bulls again this weekend and he will want to improve from some poor contributions this last couple of weeks in the number ten jumper.
Defence has been one thing that was worrying the last couple of weeks for the Bulls. They will have to step up this week against a Rebel side that pride themselves in scoring tries from anywhere on the field.
Against the Crusaders the Bulls gave away too many tries and it will be a long afternoon if they have not sorted this out.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Bulls have won five of their six Super Rugby meetings with the Rebels (L1), their solitary defeat in that run coming by just one point, at AAMI Park in June 2015.
- The Rebels have won four of their last five home games in Super Rugby (L1), the solitary defeat in that run coming against South African opposition (Stormers).
- The Bulls have lost nine of their 10 Super Rugby games in Australia since the beginning of 2013 (W1), failing to score more than 20 points in any of those nine defeats in that spell.
- The Rebels have stolen 16 lineouts thus far in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other team and more than three times as many as the Bulls (5).
- Handre Pollard (Bulls) has kicked the most goals (51) in Super Rugby 2019, only Sunwolves’ Hayden Parker (40) is between him and Rebels’ best Quade Cooper (38).
Prediction: Nothing the Bulls showed us this last couple of weeks shows us they can win against the Rebels on the road, Rebels by 8
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Rob Leota, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Pone Fa’amausili, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 Matt To’omua
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw