The Rebels can give the Waratahs the knockout punch this weekend when they face each other on Friday.
For the Rebels it is all about the chase and for the Waratahs it is all about surviving another week and try get into the playoffs.
Th Rebels and Brumbies are going down to the wire to see who will end up on top of the Aussies conference and a home quarter final.
Only one points separate the two teams on the log and it is all to play for from here on to the end.
The Waratahs have a different patch as they are now in survival mode and each week is a playoff week for them.
Loosing to the Jaguares has been a massive blow to them and they are looking at this stage not making the playoffs this year.
They have the Rebels this week away and then the Brumbies at home before playing the Highlanders away in the last week.
With all that has gone on off the field for them one can feel sorry for the men from Sydney but it is crush time now and only the strong will survive.
Their team is almost unchanged from last week with Hunt the major loss after his injury against the Jaguares.
He will be replaced by Foketi who had an impressive performance off the bench last week.
We also see Rona returning to the starting XV in place of Clark with Mason on the bench.
Big man Tom Robertson will earn his 50th Waratahs and Super Rugby cap. While Jed Holloway can notch a half century of appearances off the bench.
The Rebels made a few changes to their side wil Naisarani, Jones and Rangi all back in the starting XV.
We will also see Matt To’omua for his first start at inside centre this weekend.
Jones earns a place in the starting lineup at the blindside and Rangi are back after being rested.
We also see Faulkner and Ainslet start in the front row.
Melbourne Head Coach Dave Wessels says while he’s excited to welcome back an array of players, Wessels also admits that there were some tough decisions at the selection table.
“It’s great to have those guys back in the side, but it wasn’t an easy decision,” Wessels said.
“I think the decision was made around the short turn around, so it’s obviously a fair flight to Japan and (it’s also a) six-day turnaround, so we made a fair few changes in the pack to get the freshest bodies on there.”
If ever you will see a massive Aussie derby then this is the one. This should surely bring out the best of both sides.
There is not much to choose between the packs and backs from these two sides which makes this game even more exciting.
With so much on this game we definitely are looking forward to this one.
At the end it will be when opportunities present it self they will have to take it.
The question is just if the Waratahs will be able to stand up and show what they are worth in this competition, something that has been lacking again this season.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The NSW Waratahs have won 14 of their 16 matches against the Rebels in Super Rugby history (L2), including their last five matches on the bounce.
- Six of the last eight Australian derbies in Super Rugby have been won by the home team on the day, with two of the last three won by the team trailing at half-time on the day.
- The Rebels have won four games on home soil thus far in Super Rugby 2019; they have never won five home games within the span of a single season.
- The Rebels have stolen 19 lineouts thus far in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other team in the competition.
- Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs) has made 15 tackles per game this Super Rugby season, more than any other player in the competition and four per game more than Rebels’ best Luke Jones (11).
Prediction: Love these kinds of games which can go either way, but we stick with Rebels by 10
Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Matt To’omua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Tom English.
Waratahs – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Cameron Clark.