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Super Rugby | Melbourne
06:05 (GMT) | 29-05-2016
  • 80
Full-Time: The Rebels win this one, thank you for joining us at for this match!
  • 79
Rebels win the penalty as the Force look to win the game at the death. Debreczeni kicks the ball out and the ref blows full-time
  • 78
Massive break by Placid who busts through and makes 30 meters he then kicks forward and Brache cleans up and the Rebels are penalized for going off their feet at the breakdown.
  • 77
Scrum on the halfway line for the Rebels, Meehan feeds and then plays Hodge who has a run along with Thomson. Time running out for the Force
  • 75
Force turn the ball over and Grant clears the ball up field. A couple kicks back and forth but then the ref judges that McMahon put in a high tackle resulting in a Force penalty. Grant sets up the lineout on the halfway line
  • 73
Rebels on the attack inside the Force half. Thomson gets his hands on the ball followed by Inman
  • 71
Grant adds the extras
  • 70
Try scored by Luke Morahan!
  • 69
Force continue to bash at the defence as Morahan crashes over to score. TMO in action for possible obstruction.
  • 68
We have a 5 meter scrum to the Force on the Rebels try line. They attack trough Grant and then Louwrens
  • 67
Force look to bounce back immediately as Haylett-Petty makes a halfbreak, he then throws the ball to Godwin who throws a loose pass into touch.
  • 66
Debreczeni adds the extras
  • 65
From the set piece Stirzaker throws a shot ball to Naivalu who busts through and scores the try!
  • 63
Rebels have the scrum put in inside the Force's 22
  • 62
Rebels attack wide through Naivalu followed by a massive run by Timani ! Rebels attack looking good
  • 61
Rebels have a scrum put in near the halfway line
  • 58
Timani picks the ball up from the base and crashes over for the try!
  • 57
Rebels attack through Smith, and Hodge followed by Jones. Rebels 5 meters out
  • 55
Rebels on the attack just outside the Force 22 before there is a loose pass that Grant intercepts and the Force clear the ball up field.
  • 54
Stirzaker takes the penalty quickly and attack wide through Inman and Naivalu who loses the ball forward and the Force have the scrum put in just outside their own 22.
  • 52
Force set the maul which is defended well by the Rebels. Force on the attack on the Rebels 22. Rebels defend well and force the penalty for the Force holding onto the ball.
  • 51
Couple kicks back and forth between the two sides before the ref blows for a Force penalty. Grant plugs the ball into touch to set up a lineout
  • 49
Grant converts the try!
  • 48
The Force opt for another 5m line-out and they form the maul again. Harry Scoble breaks away and runs in for the try!
  • 47
The Force forms the driving maul in the Rebels' 22 and they get another penalty.
  • 46
The Force are on the attack now attack now and they get a penalty, Grant gives his team a line-out inside the Rebels' 22.
  • 42
It is an amazing start by the Rebels, they go wide and Sefanaia Naivalu dives over in the corner for a TRY!
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Hodge gets the second half underway!

Half Time

  • 40
The Rebels go in search of one last score before half-time, but they lose the ball forward and the Force will have a scrum on their own 10m line. The Force go wide from the scrum, but the ball goes into touch and that is half-time. Rebels 10-8 Force.
  • 38
The Rebels get another penalty again on the Force 10m line and Hodge will go for polls again, but he misses again!
  • 37
Hodge cannot convert the penalty and the score remains 10-8.
  • 36
The Rebels get a penalty on the Force 10m line and Reece Hodge will go for the three points.
  • 35
Grant takes the ball into contact - the Force are seeing a lot of the ball now. The Rebels turn the ball over but are tackled into touch near halfway.
  • 32
Grant misses the penalty and the score remains the same.
  • 31
Hodge kicks the ball out on the full after the scrum and the Force will have an attacking line-out. The away side gets a penalty after the Rebels collapsed the maul. Grant will go for polls.
  • 28
The Force make their way inside the Rebels half and are looking dangerous with ball in hand. The ball is eventually lost forward and the Rebels will have a defensive scrum on their own 10m line.
  • 25
Hodge converts the penalty and the Rebels lead 10-8
  • 23
The Rebels are back in the Force half with Reid making some serious metres with his carries. The ball goes wide and Sean McMahon is tackled in touch, however play is brought back for a Rebels' penalty.
  • 20
The game is being played at a high tempo now with both teams keen on throwing the ball wide!
  • 17
Grant cannot add the extras, but the Force lead 8-7!
  • 16
The Force makes some ground with a driving maul before a cross kick is sent for Morahan. He gathers and kicks ahead again and regathers and sprints in for the try!
  • 15
The Force get a penalty straight from the restart and Grant will go for polls from 25m out. Grant gets his team the three points!
  • 13
Hodge converts his own try and the Rebels lead 7-0.
  • 12
The Rebels are on attack and Harris is through a gap. he passes to Hodge who sprints in for the first try of the game!
  • 10
Harris gives his team a line-out in the Rebels' 22 from the penalty. The ball is taken through a number of phases, but the home side are struggling to break through a strong Force defence. The ball is eventually lost forward.
  • 8
The Force go wide from the line-out near halfway before Grant kicks the ball away. The Rebels run the ball back and Hodge is nearly through a gap on halfway. Play is brought back for a Rebels penalty.
  • 6
From a scrum in their own half, the Rebels go wide before Mike Harris kicks deep. After an exchange of kicks, the Force will have a line-out near halfway.
  • 4
The Force cannot do anything with the ball and the Rebels get a scrum after a knock on. The home side kicks the ball downfield, but goes out on the full and the Force will have an attacking line-out in the Rebels half.
  • 1
Rebels are off to a good start with some strong carries, however they lose the ball forward and the away side will have a scrum on the Rebels' 10m line.
  • -10
The Force have won three of their last six games away from home and will be looking for back-to-back road wins for the first time since Round 2 this season.
  • -20
The Rebels have won seven of their last nine games against the Force, though only once in this fixture's history (11 games) has a game been decided by more than seven points.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby with the Melbourne Rebels taking on the Western Force.
Mc rebels logo 80x50
Mc western force logo 80x50
  • 1 Cruze Ah-Nau
  • 2 James Hanson
  • 3 Toby Smith
  • 4 Luke Jones
  • 5 Lopeti Timani
  • 6 Sean McMahon
  • 7 Jordy Reid
  • 8 Colby Faingaa
  • 9 Nic Stirzaker
  • 10 Mike Harris
  • 11 Tom English
  • 12 Reece Hodge
  • 13 Mitch Inman
  • 14 Sefanaia Naivalu
  • 15 Jack Debreczeni
  • 16 Pat Leafa
  • 17 Tom Moloney
  • 18 Tim Metcher
  • 19 Culum Retallick
  • 20 Adam Thomson
  • 21 Scott Fuglistaller
  • 22 Ben Meehan
  • 23 Jonah Placid
  • 1 Pekahou Cowan
  • 2 Harry Scoble
  • 3 Guy Millar
  • 4 Ross Haylett-Petty
  • 5 Adam Coleman
  • 6 Brynard Stander
  • 7 Chris Alcock
  • 8 Ben McCalman
  • 9 Alby Mathewson
  • 10 Peter Grant
  • 11 Luke Morahan
  • 12 Kyle Godwin
  • 13 Ben Tapuai
  • 14 Marcel Brache
  • 15 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 16 Heath Tessmann
  • 17 Francois Van Wyk
  • 18 Tetera Faulkner
  • 19 Rory Walton
  • 20 Angus Cottrell
  • 21 Ryan Louwrens
  • 22 Solomoni Rasolea
  • 23 Semisi Masirewa
Mc article warren whiteley   adriaan strauss 800


Thu, 26 May 2016 21:47

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday and Sunday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 14.

Saturday will give us two massive domestic derbies, both who can will have a significant influence on the standings heading into the June break.

The day starts with New Zealand's BIG north-south derby.

The Crusaders, who slipped from the top of the championship when they missed a bonus point against the Waratahs last week, head to Auckland to play the worst performing New Zealand team, the Blues.

The Lions, who are the only side guaranteed to be top of their group when action resumes in July, is without star playmaker Elton Jantjies.

However, Bulls coach Nollis Marais warned his side not to get over-confident.

"That team doesn't rely on just one person, they are a good team all over," Marais told a media briefing in Pretoria - the venue of the tans-Jukskei derby.

The Bulls need to retain their unbeaten home record this year to stay on top of their conference, where they are ahead on points differential against the Stormers - who have a seemingly easier task when they host the Cheetahs in Cape Town.

"We made a decision at the beginning of the season, if we play at Loftus then we need to be up for it. There are no excuses," Marais said.

Should the Lions lose they will remain top of Africa Two conference, as the second-placed Sharks have a bye and the next best team are Argentina's Jaguares - who are a further 22 points adrift.

The Brumbies, ready to pounce in the Australia group if the Waratahs slip up, play the lowly Sunwolves from Japan, in an Australian derby the Melbourne Rebels host the Western Force on Sunday.

Saturday, May 28:

It has, traditionally, been New Zealand's biggest domestic derby - the north-south encounter.

They are also two of the most successful teams in the history of Super Rugby - the Crusaders with seven titles and the Blues with three, including the first two in the professional era.

However, times have changed and the Blues have not finished inside the top 10 for four years.

The Crusaders, despite having not won a title since 2008, have at least reached the play-offs six times in the last sevens year - with last year's seventh place the result of the maddening conference system that saw then relegated below a team with less points than they collected.

While the Crusaders' fortunes and form continued a sharp upwards curve this year, the Blues have continue to struggle and gives the appearance of a team in decline.

Last week's scratchy win over the Western Force - coming in the wake of a 5-43 (seven-try) loss to the Lions - gave Blues coach Tana Umaga hope that his team has at least one ingredient with which to counter the mighty Crusaders.

"It was not pretty, but probably the most pleasing thing for us was we got our grit and determination back and put a bit of pride back into a jersey that we cherish," Umaga said of the outing in Perth.

"We didn't have that the previous week against the Lions," Umaga added.

However, they are most likely going to need more than just determination against the Crusaders team that have shown similar characteristics in bucket loads this season.

Recent results:
2016: Crusaders won 28-13, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 34-11, Auckland
2015: Crusaders won 29-15, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 21-13, Christchurch
2014: Blues won 35-24, Auckland
2013: Crusaders won 23-3, Christchurch

Prediction: The Crusaders have won their last four encounters with the Blues, the longest winning streak by either team in the history of this fixture. The Blues have won only one of their last 14 games against New Zealand opposition, that win coming in Round One this season against the Highlanders by only two points. The Crusaders have won six of their last seven games away from home, although their one defeat in that run came in their last away match. The Blues have enjoyed 17 minutes and 50 seconds of possession per game this season, the most of any team, while they also have a ruck success rate of 96 percent, the best in the competition. Of the 31 hookers to have made at least 30 line-out throws, Codie Taylor (92 percent) has the second best success rate overall (Adriaan Strauss - 94 percent). The Blues will play with pride and might remain competitive for the first hour, but the Crusaders have too much class and should ease clear in the final quarter to win by 15 points.


Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala/Male Sa'u, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Jack Ram, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Male Sa'u/Michael Little, 23 Lolagi Visinia.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Tim Boys, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 David Havili, 23 Marty McKenzie.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman

The Sunwolves have shown some promising form in recent weeks - a win over the Jaguares and a draw with the Stormers in their last four matches.

However, they are unlikely to find the Brumbies in a generous mood, given first place in the Australian conference is at stake.

While the Brumbies are dependent on the result between Waratahs and Chiefs on Friday, they know that a bonus-point win over the Japanese newcomers is non negotiable.

The Brumbies' recent form has been promising, but they know the Sunwolves are a banana skin waiting to be stepped on - just ask the Stormers.

Brumbies prop Scott Sio is expecting a difficult match against the Japanese outfit.

"[The mindset] is good," Sio said in an interview on the Brumbieswebsite.

He added that their two wins - over the Bulls and Rebels - the last two matches before last week's bye was the momentum they needed.

"As you've seen in the last few weeks the Sunwolves aren't an easy beat," Sio said.

"They suffered that big loss against the Cheetahs, but have bounced back really well and are playing some really enterprising rugby so for us we know that it's going to take nothing less than an 80-minute effort this week.

"They're a traditional Japanese side, they're very fit, hard on the ball and technically sound at set pieces."

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Brumbies have won only one of their last four games against teams from outside of Australia, though they'll be looking for consecutive victories against non-Australian teams for the first time since May 2015 after a 23-6 win against the Bulls in Round 11. The Sunwolves have won once and drawn once in their last four Super Rugby fixtures, though they remain winless in three games against Australian opposition. In none of the Brumbies' last 17 games has either team won after trailing at half-time, though the Brumbies won against the Waratahs in Round Two this season after being level at the break. Akihito Yamada has made 20 clean breaks so far this season, only the injured Joseph Tomane (23) has made more than the Japan winger, who is also the joint top scorer in the competition with eight tries. David Pocock has won 21 turnovers so far this season, the most of any player and eight more than Sunwolves' pair Andrew Durutalo and Ed Quirk who have each won 13. You expect the Brumbies to dominate from beginning to end and the margin should be at least 25 points.


Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Lealiifano (co-captain), 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore (co-captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Lausii Taliauli.

Sunwolves: 15 Yasutaka Asahara, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yuki Yatomi, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa'atiga Lemalu, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Daisuke Inoue, 22 Tusi Pisi , 23 Riaan Viljoen.

Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

The Stormers have been on a stead decline in the past month and it all started with a 30-32 loss to the Waratahs in Week 10.

Four weeks ago they still head the Africa conference and now they are not even in the top eight.

After a loss in their last home fixture, against the Waratahs, the Capetonians must now avoid the ignominy of back-to-back home losses for the first time since their last two games of the 2011 season.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has been on the defensive since that loss to the Tahs and said that his team is fully focused on returning to winning ways.

"The last few weeks have been quite frustrating for us," Fleck told a media briefing in Cape Town.

"We are focused on delivering a convincing performance for our faithful supporters at Newlands.

"We have worked very hard this week and the players are determined to show what we are capable of when we get it right," he said.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has been punting the 'young team' and 'building' phrases all season.

Their three victories have come against the Sunwolves (twice) and Southern Kings.

While they showed promise in some matches, generally they have been unable to sustain pressure long enough to be a real threat to the stronger teams.

No doubt they will lift themselves for this derby, as they always do against the Stormers, but they will have to eradicate the naivety that has cost them so dearly all season.

Recent results:
2016: Stormers won 20-10, Bloemfontein
2015: Stormers won 42-12, Cape Town
2015: Cheetahs won 25-17, Bloemfontein
2014: Stormers won 33-0, Cape Town
2014: Cheetahs won 35-22, Bloemfontein
2013: Stormers won 28-3, Cape Town

Prediction: The Stormers have won 11 of their last 14 games against the Cheetahs, including each the last two in a row by a combined 40-point margin. After a loss in their last home fixture the Stormers will be aiming to avoid back-to-back home losses for the first time since their last two games of the 2011 season.  The Cheetahs will be looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since their opening two fixtures of the 2015 season after beating the Kings in their last fixture. The Cheetahs have won an average of 14.1 line-outs per game so far this campaign, the most of any team, though they rank 10th for line-out success (87.6 percent). The Stormers are the best team in the competition this season when it comes to winning opposition line-outs, stealing 2.6 per game on average this season; Eben Etzebeth (9) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (8) have stolen more than any other individuals this season. The Cheetahs have a realistic chance of an upset, but we feel the Stormers will do enough for a narrow win - by less than 10 points.


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Johnny Kotze.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Nico Lee.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

The Bulls have dismissed the notion that Elton Jantjies' absence will in any way diminish the threat being posed by their trans-Jukskei neighbours.

With the Springbok flyhalf, Jantjies, sidelined with a fractured finger, the Lions have called up another Bok - one-time capped Marnitz Boshoff to lead their attack against the Bulls.

And the men from Pretoria feel that the visitors are still the best attacking side in South Africa.

"Marnitz Boshoff is an excellent player," Bulls coach Nollis Marais said, when asked about the absence about South Africa's form flyhalf.

"Their team doesn't rely on just one person, it is a good all round side - with quality all over."

Marais said they are determined to evolve the way they play and to see how far they are down that road of evolution, they must to test themselves against the Currie Cup champions and the team that is currently the No.1 side in South Africa.

"We want to play a more expansive brand, but you first have to dominate the set pieces," the Bulls mentor said.

"In some games this season we conceded too many turnovers, which gave the opposition momentum.

"We always said we are going to be an advantage line team and perhaps we tried to play too expansive too soon, instead of first fixing the small things - dominating the set pieces and be physical."

Marais said there are a lot of things they needed to work on.

"There were certain guys who struggled with aspects of their game, to adapt to the pace and intensity of Super Rugby," he said of his young team.

"There is a big step up between Currie Cup and Super Rugby levels and we need to have a look every week where we can improve."

He admitted that at the beginning of the year the scrums were a problem.

"We were one of the teams that gave away the most scrum penalties," Marais said, adding: "We worked hard on that and [scrum coach] Gary [Botha] deserves a lot of credit for that.

"The big positive is how well we performed against the Stormers in the set pieces.

"It is good to go into this game knowing our set pieces are solid."

Recent results:
2015: Bulls won 35-33, Pretoria
2015: Lions won 22-18, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 32-21, Johannesburg
2014: Bulls won 25-17, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 37-20, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 32-18, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Bulls have won 11 and drawn one of their 14 previous encounters with the Lions, though the Johannesburg team have won two of the last three iterations of this fixture. The Lions have won four and drawn one of their last six games away from home and are undefeated in their last three away games in South Africa. The Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak in Round 13, though they have still scored only 31 points in their last three Super Rugby games. The Bulls have conceded only two tries in the opening quarter of games this season, the joint fewest in Super Rugby (level with the Stormers and Chiefs). The Lions have scored 64 more points than they've conceded in the 20 minutes leading up to half-time, the most of any team in the competition. It is going a cracker - the Lions' attack against the Bulls' defence. The Lions will sneak this one, a late scoring giving them a win of five to seven points.


Bulls: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Deon Stegmann, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel.

Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Ashlon Davids.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Christie du Preez

Sunday, May 29:

The Rebels and Force are both coming off losing streaks they would like to end - the Rebels having lost their last three matches and the Force three of their last four.

The Rebels currently sit in third spot in the Australian conference on 23 points - seven points outside the play-off positions.

This game, the last before the month-long international break, provides the Victorians with an ideal opportunity to steady the ship.

Coach Tony McGahan believes the challenges have provided his young side with a valuable learning curve.

"We understand where we're at [in Super Rugby', we've still got some rough edges around what we're doing and we need to make sure we knock them off as quickly as possible," McGahan said.

"We're learning every harsh lesson possible, but we've got a really good group of players, good people on staff and an organisation going terrific off the field so we just need to continue to work away.

"It's not easy but that's the way it is. We need to show resilience in what we're doing and get back onto winning this week."

Victory against a Force team with just two wins from 11 starts - against the Reds and Sunwolves - will see the Rebels go into the break with six wins from 12 outings.

It will certainly keep their faint hope of a top eight finish alive.

Defeat will be the end of any play-off aspirations.

Despite a string of injuries - which have sidelined established players like Luke Jones, Tamati Ellison, Cam Crawford and Pat Leafa  - McGahan is adamant that his team has the talent to stay in the race.

"Our expectation is that we get on with it," the coach said, adding: "Super Rugby is never a nice straight road, there are obstacles along the way, the good sides deal with them and the others handle them as an excuse."

The Force will no doubt be throwing everything they have at the Rebels.

The Force are coming off a heart breaking defeat to the Blues last week - where the Western Australians dominated the game, but were unable to finish the job.

Recent results:
2016: Rebels won 25-19, Perth
2015: Force won 13-11, Melbourne
2015: Rebels won 21-17, Perth
2014: Rebels won 22-16, Melbourne
2014: Force won 32-7, Perth
2013: Rebels won 30-23, Perth
2013: Rebels won 30-23, Melbourne

Prediction: The Rebels have won seven of their last nine games against the Force, though only once in this fixture's history (11 games) has a game been decided by more than seven points. The Rebels have lost their last three games; they have not lost more in a row since ending the 2014 season with five consecutive losses. The Force have won three of their last six games away from home and will be looking for back-to-back road wins for the first time since Round 2 this season. Sean McMahon has beaten 40 defenders so far this campaign, the most of any forward and the third most overall. The Western Force (93.2 percent) remain the most accurate goal kickers in the competition, no other side has managed higher than 82 percent. The Rebels are at home and probably also have too much class. It would not be a surprise if they win by 15 points.


Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Colby Fainga'a, 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Toby Smith, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah Nau
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Scott Fuglistaller, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Jonah Placid.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Pek Cowan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Solomoni Rasolea ,23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article jack debreczeni 800

Rebels hold off Force

Sun, 29 May 2016 08:00

REPORT: Powerful wing Sefanaia Naivalu scored a try double to get the Melbourne Rebels home 27-22 in a closely-fought Australian Super Rugby derby with Western Force in Melbourne on Sunday.

The Fijian right-wing sealed the Rebels' win when he hurtled through two tackles off a Nic Stirzaker reverse pass to plant the ball one-handed over the tryline with 14 minutes left.

Naivalu scored his earlier try just after half-time to take his season tally to eight.

The Rebels outscored the Force by four tries to three and have a 6-6 record. But they are seven points behind the Brumbies and Waratahs in the Australian conference, with little hope of forcing their way into the end-of-season play-offs.

The Rebels have now won four of their six home games against the Perth-based Force.

Melbourne led 10-8 at half-time after a try from Reece Hodge, but lost back Mike Harris - a Wallabies squad member - with a hamstring injury early in the half.

Naivalu's two tries and another by lock Lopeti Timani brought the Rebels a 27-15 lead with 14 minutes left.

But the Force gave themselves a chance with winger Luke Morahan's second try when eight minutes remained, only for the Rebels to hold on to their win.

The loss was Force's 11th of the season, putting further pressure on embattled coach Michael Foley.

Man of the match: Quite a few players put up their hand for this award, however, Jordy Reid, who was outstanding in open play and in the physical exchanges, deserves the plaudits.   

The scorers:

For Melbourne Rebels:
Tries: Hodge, Naivalu 2, Timani
Cons: Hodge, Debreczeni
Pen: Hodge

For Western Force:
Tries: Morahan 2, Scoble
Cons: Grant 2
Pen: Grant


Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Colby Fainga'a, 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Toby Smith, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah Nau
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Scott Fuglistaller, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Jonah Placid.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Pek Cowan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Solomoni Rasolea ,23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Reece Hodge (12min), Sefanaia Naivalu (42min), Lopeti Timani (58min), and Sefanaia Naivalu (65min)
Luke Morahan (16min), Harry Scoble (48min), and Luke Morahan (70min)
Reece Hodge (13min) and Jack Debreczeni (66min)
Peter Grant (49min) and Peter Grant (71min)
Reece Hodge (25min)
Peter Grant (15min)
VENUE Melbourne
REFEREE Chris Pollock (New Zealand)