Preview: Hurricanes v Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Preview: Hurricanes v Rebels

Preview: Hurricanes v Rebels

After a week off to recharge their batteries, the Melbourne Rebels head off to Wellington to take on an in-form Hurricanes at the Cake Tin.

The Rebels had a perfect opportunity to go up 7-2, with matches against the Stormers and Waratahs in their previous two rounds. Whether it was fatigue, complacency or an inability to adjust their game plan to suit their opponents, they find themselves at a crossroads.  The Rebels now have an uphill battle to hold onto the top of the Aussie conference and make the finals for the first time in their history.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, sit 7 points shy of NZ conference leaders, the Crusaders and will be taking every opportunity to stay close to their rivals from the south.

Form

The Hurricanes currently sit on 7-1-2 for the season thus far, having won their last three encounters that includes a 47-19 demolition of the Chiefs in the previous round.  The Rebels are coming off a bye after losing their last two games and sit on 5-0-4 for the season. The Rebels look to have fallen into a mid-season hole as per 2018 and with their opponents looking more formidable than ever.  It doesn’t look too rosy right now.

Player Match-ups

Beauden Barrett v Quade Cooper  (Flyhalf): There are quite a few similarities between these two number 10s. Both have a good running game, both pull off crazy feats of passing and both have questionable success off the tee. The one area QC lacks in is calm under pressure. He is oft to make silly mistakes at the worst time, something Barrett (the older one) is less prone (if at all) to do.

Jordie Barrett v Dane Haylett-Petty (Fullback): Jordie Barrett (the younger one) had a cracking game last round, running umpteen metres and scoring two tries for the fun of it. The Rebels will have their hands and feet full keeping him contained. On the flipside, DHP makes his return from injury to his favoured position and all eyes will be on him now that the Wallabies race for fullback is in full swing.

Jordie Barrett doing Jordie Barrett things

Should I bother?

I’m stupid enough to be getting on a plane to go see this, the least you can do is sit and watch it on the tele. At the very least it will be entertaining, I’m sure.

It was even windier in windy Wellington last weekend

Teams

Hurricanes form scrumhalf, TJ Perenara is sitting out this match as part of the All Blacks’ rest policy, being replaced by Richard Judd, while Beauden Barrett will be captain with Dane Cole sidelined with a calf injury. Jeff To’omaga-Allen replaces an injured Ben May at tighthead prop.

For the visitors, the Rebels see the welcome return of captain Dane Haylett-Petty at fullback, shifting Reece Hodge to inside centre and subsequently Billy Meakes to the pine. Adam Coleman is sitting out the game with an injured shoulder and we are yet to see the return of long-term injured Jordan Uelese, who did his ACL 12 months ago.

Both teams are fielding strong lineups. Well, to be fair, the Hurricanes are a strong lineup no matter what!

HURRICANES

(15-1): Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Chase Tiatia, Beauden Barrett (c), Richard Judd, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Isaia Walker-Leawere, James Blackwell, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong

Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Toby Smith, Alex Fidow, Kane Le’aupepe, Liam Mitchell, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Finlay Christie, James Marshall

REBELS

(15-1): Dane Haylett-Petty (c), Jack Maddocks, Tom English, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Isi Naisarani, Rob Leota, Angus Cottrell, Matt Philip, Luke Jones, Jermaine Ainsley, Anaru Rangi, Tetera Faulkner

Reserves: Hugh Roach, Matt Gibbon, Sam Talakai, Ross Haylett-Petty, Pone Fa’amausili, Michael Ruru, Billy Meakes, Campbell Magnay

Prediction

I am forever the optimist when it comes to my Rebels, but as rose-coloured as my glasses are, I am also realistic. All I ask is that the Rebels are competitive. Could there be an upset on the cards? Probably not away from home in the Cake Tin, but I do and will forever live in hope. Hurricanes to win comfortably.

Catch me if you can – Reece Hodge makes a break

Match details

Date: Saturday 04 May 2019
Venue: Westpac Stadium (The Cake Tin), Wellington, New Zealand
Kick-off: 3.15 pm (AEST) / 5.15pm (Local Time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Touchies: Paul Williams & Glen Jackson
TMO: Aaron Paterson

  • theduke

    Great write up, and mate, good on ya for journeying across the ditch to see the game. Always brings joy to the sub-cockles of my heart when I hear about someone backing up their support for their rugby team.

  • Keith Butler

    The Canes look to have too much power and pace outside and are strong upfront. Just want the Rebs to front up for the full 80 mins. When we get possession let’s not kick it away unnecessarily. Make the Canes win it back if they can. Being realistic it should be a comfortable win for the Canes but if we can get close and secure a point that would be a great result.

  • Mr Wobbly

    I’ll keep an eye out for you on the telly, GMR.

    They’re obviously short on stock at the moment but the rebels are going into this game with a big back row and possibly the biggest back rower ever on the bench. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

  • Gipetto

    ” The one area QC lacks in is calm under pressure. He is oft to make silly mistakes at the worst time… “. That’s rubbish.

    • joy

      He tends to pull out a joker when all else is lost. Some call it lacking calm I call going for broke. I was disappointed he didn’t have a go in the last two losses.

  • AllyOz

    I would personally think Hodge gives more value off the bench than starting at 12 and starting Meakes would be the better option but, given they have lost a couple on the trot perhaps its time to try something different. I hope the Rebels can get back on track but my head is chalking this one up to the Canes despite them lacking a couple of key players too.

    • Kevino

      Except in each of the Rebels losses Meakes has been poor. He has been good in the wins, but his had some shockers too

  • joy

    Laumapi v Hodge…at least he won’t be beaten for pace. Maybe grit will prevail.

  • Keith Butler

    Just had to say this. Koribete flys in off his wing and gives Goosen a run in. Pathetic defence. Should not be on the run 8n sid3 let alone G&G.

  • Keith Butler

    I have to take it back. Pathetic first 25 mins or so but really came back well. Could have done with a losing bonus point though. Now feeling more positive.

Melbourne Rebels
@gomelbrebels

Who was it that said "there's always next season"? Oh yes, it was me, every year... Played every position in the forwards as a lad, was crap at all of them.

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