RECAP: Rebels v Chiefs
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to our coverage of the Super Rugby Round 18 clash between the Rebels and Chiefs at AAMI Park.
It has been an amazing season for the Chiefs. After starting with four defeats and a draw, nobody backed them to have a chance of reaching the play-offs.
Yet, here they are in Round 18 and Chiefs have an outside chance of sneaking in through the back door.
A bonus point win could be enough to see the Chiefs into the play-offs.
If they win without a bonus point, they can still make it if either of the Highlanders or Waratahs win without a bonus point and the Stormers either win, or lose without a bonus point.
The Rebels simply need a win or a draw to confirm their place in the play-offs.
The Round 16 40-27 win over the Crusaders gave them the belief and last week’s bye would have refreshed the Chiefs.
2017: Chiefs won 27-14, Melbourne
2016: Chiefs won 36-15, Hamilton
2015: Rebels won 16-15, Melbourne
2014: Chiefs won 22-16, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 39-33, Melbourne
Prediction: This will be the seventh Super Rugby meeting between the Rebels and Chiefs, with the Hamilton side having won five of their previous six encounters including their last two on the bounce. The Melbourne Rebels have failed to score a first-half point in either of their last two Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition, going into the half-time break 26-0 down on each occasion. The Chiefs have won 10 of their last 11 Super Rugby games against Australian opposition, losing only to the Brumbies (54-17) in that time. The Chiefs have made 12 offloads per game in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other team in the competition and four per game more than the Rebels (eight). Marika Koroibete (Rebels) has scored five tries and provided two try assists in his last five Super Rugby games and crossed for a try in his only previous game against the Chiefs in 2017.
Margin: Five points
RECAP: Rebels v Chiefs
Kick-off: 19.45 (local time); 21.45 NZ time; 09.45 GMT
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Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Matt To’omua. 23 Campbell Magnay.
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Tumua Manu.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)