RECAP: Rebels v Waratahs
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to our coverage of the Super Rugby Round 16 clash between the Rebels and Waratahs at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The link to the match report will appear here later.
The desperation in the Waratahs camp is so intense that coach Daryl Gibson is willing to risk a potential showdown with Wallaby coach Michael Cheika, again declining to rest his Test stars for this must-win encounter.
Under Rugby Australia protocols, driven by Cheika, all state coaches are obliged to rest their Wallabies hopefuls for at least one game, if not two, during the Super Rugby season to ensure they are not over-worked before this year’s World Cup in Japan.
Gibson is still required to give backline linchpins Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and fellow forwards Rob Simmons and Sekope Kepu spells.
But with the Waratahs’ play-off hopes hanging by a thread, Gibson is running out of time and the coach all but conceded he had no plans on resting his Wallabies from crunch matches with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday and the Brumbies next week in Sydney.
2019: Waratahs won 23-20, Sydney
2018: Waratahs won 31-26, Melbourne
2018: Waratahs won 51-27, Sydney
2017: Waratahs won 50-23, Sydney
2017: Waratahs won 32-25, Melbourne
Prediction: The NSW Waratahs have won 14 of their 16 matches against the Rebels in Super Rugby history, 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 line-outs 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).
Margin: Eight points
LIVE: Rebels v Waratahs
Kick-off: 19.45 local time; 09.45 GMT.
Our updates will appear below. There might be a slight delay in the match centre loading, please be patient. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 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.
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)