You will be forgiven if you think this match is as clear cut as previous encounters may suggest. The Rebels and Force have met six times, the Rebels walking away with five victories and the Force only one.
The margin of victory has never exceeded more than a score, in all likelihood this weekend’s clash between these two teams will once again be a nail biter for their supporters.
|2/4/2011||Force Rebels 25-26|
|17/06/2011||Rebels Force 24-27|
|23/03/2012||Rebels Force 30-29|
|20/05/2012||Force Rebels 31-32|
|15/02/2013||Rebels Force 30-23|
|6/4/2013||Force Rebels 23-30|
The Rebels will be full of confidence after dismantling the Cheetahs and the Force are fresh from being dismantled by the Brumbies.
For an opening salvo the sheer statistics of the Rebels against the Cheetahs is in fact mind boggling, they have beaten 42 defenders and made 17 clean breaks in one match and the Force will have their work cut out to stop this new look speed of attack from the Rebels.
Tom English has been a revelation last week, beating 11 defenders and making 3 clean breaks, the Force will have to watch him closely. Luke Burgess will be equally dangerous from behind the breakdowns.
In contrast to the Rebels, the Force have been ill disciplined at the breakdown, but the Rebels were running the show against the Cheetahs, the pace with which they hit the rucks is likely to change if the Force can counter them, something the Cheetahs have not been able to do.
The Rebels have also not really been tested in the line outs by the Cheetahs whereas the Force has shown they can be equally as effective at the front, middle or back of the line out.
For both these teams the set phases will be of crucial importance, the breakdown battle as in most cases will determine which team gains front foot ball and can therefor send their backs onto attack.
I think the Rebels have shown they can be dangerous on attack, but let’s not forget it has been one game against a woeful Cheetahs team.
From a neutrals perspective this should be an interesting match. The Rebels have sounded the alarm that they are ready for big things this season, their aim to entertain in the truly Aussie style of rugby; the Force have always been competitive against the Rebels, and although they have two losses against the Waratahs and Brumbies in their first two outings of the season, you can expect them to see this battle as their first real opportunity for success.
Will Foley select Sias Ebersohn at 10 for this match or will he continue with Zack Holmes?
Will the back row combination of Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson and Chris Alcock be able to dominate against Higginbotham and his charges?
Will the Force allow Burgess and Hegarty the space to make the play the Cheetahs did?
And how are they going to shut down Tome English?
My tip for this match, Rebels by more than seven.
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