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Outright Rugby

Rebels v.s Force Super Rugby preview

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Venu: AAMI Park Melbourne, Austraila.

I'm coming for you

I’m coming for you

Kickoff:  Fri 15 Feb 19:40 Australia/NSW.
Kickoff RSA : Fri 15 Feb 10:40.
Kickoff NZ: Fri 15 Feb 21:40 (Auckland).
Weather: Partly cloudy and warm to hot with a very light breeze and no chance of rainfall.
(the guys are going to sweat out there!)
RefereeAngus Gardner (Australia).
The very long wait is over. Super Rugby’s back and boy is this going to be a cracker of a season! Much has changed since last year (especially with increased player trading between Super Rugby clubs in the off-season). The sides are likely to have a new look and feel but the tournament is going to be more entertaining than ever!
Jumping into this first fixture of all the Rebels take on the Force at home in this crucial Australian derby. Both of these sides will be wanting for domestic dominance looking to set the tone for the remainder of the tournament and this match is certain to be a hard hitting if even ill-tempered affair. The weather (warm at least) is sure to cause mistakes toward the end of the match as early season fatigue sets in but both sides will throw the kitchen sink at this one!
Melbourne Rebels:
The Side:15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (captain) 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Cadeyrn Neville, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Alex Rokobaro, 22 Tom English.

Out with the old and in with the new is the case in Melbourne this season. Stirling Mortlock, with all due respect to the tough-as-nails Wallaby stalwart, was probably the slowest player over 100m in Super 15 2012! But not all that is old is bad. Mark Gerrard with his excellent boot and brain for the game will be sorely missed as will fan favourite Rodzilla in this and other up-coming Super Rugby matches.

The Rebels have many new guns (Shota Horie who on the bench is to become the first ever Japanese player to participate in Super Rugby when he runs out onto the field) that need to perform as they have only made 9 signings to 17 departures. The new-bucks offer some quality even boasting a few internationals such as blind-side flank Scott Higginbotham. Much is required of the new signings if the Rebels are to contest for a playoff spot and this first outing onto the park will be a great indicator as to the potential of this Melbourne side.

Players lost:

Adam Byrnes, Adam Freier (retired), Alister Campbell (retired), Danny Cipriani, Julian Huxley, Lloyd Johansson, Mark Gerrard, Michael Lipman (retired), Rodney Blake (retired), Stirling Mortlock (retired).

Key players gained:

Jason Woodward (Wellington Lions), Pauliasi Manu (Blues), Scott Higginbotham (Reds), Shota Horie (Japan).

Preseason results:
Rebels 14 – Crusaders 19
Hurricanes 47 – Rebels 45
Western Force:
15 Will Tupou, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Junior Rasolea.

With coach resignation a regular feature, this side from Perth have it all to do in Super 15 2013 now headed by coach Michael Foley (ex Waratahs). Having learnt from his dismal 2012 season and striving to get far better results this time round, Foley is likely to reinvent his coaching style with more focus on achieving greater team unity and imposing a never-say-die attitude throughout the squad as the vector of Waratahs’ failures of 2012 was psychological rather than physical.

Matt Hodgson is to skipper the Force stepping in for David Pocock (now with the Brumbies).

Player trading:

The off-season has proved a spring-tide for the Force in terms of player transfers. 17 squad members out and a long line-up of players in, this Perth side is likely to have a very changed feel to it in 2013.

Player lost:

Anare Koliavu, Ben Seymour, Cameron Shepherd, David Harvey, Elvis Taione, Gene Fairbanks, James Stannard, Joshua Holmes, Justin Turner, Napolioni Nalaga, Oliver Atkins, Rory Sidey, Ruan Smith, Samu Wara.

Key players gained:

Alby Mathewson (Blues), Chris Alcock (Waratahs), Hugh McMeniman (Kubota), Jayden Hayward (Hurricanes), Sam Norton-Knight (Sanyo Wild Knights), Sias Ebersohn (Cheetahs).

Preseason results:

Force 46 – Tonga XV 0

Force 18 – Brumbies 20

As we can see, both sides were unsuccessful against Super Rugby opposition in the warm-up fixtures. While the Rebels have impressed in that they stayed in contention (within a score) against the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, the Force have equally impressed by conceding so few points in their warm-up fixtures, also coming within 7 of their Super Rugby opposition, the Brumbies.

Betting: Outright 2/5 v.s 5/2 (i.e. bet 5 on the Rebels to make 2 profit (should they win) and vice versa on the Force)
               Handicap -6 v.s +6 (@10/11). (i.e. get a 6 point head-start with the Force or a 6 point deduction on the Rebels  final points tally [depending who you prefer] and whoever comes out on top [after the handicapping] wins 10 profit from 11 bet).

Traditionally the opening 4 rounds of Super Rugby are rife with upsets and we urge punters to wait until sides have sufficiently settled before investing large sums of hard-won money on favourites  That said, had we a free bet to spend this weekend, we’d probably throw it on the Force with a 6 point head-start.

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