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Rebels vs Hurricanes
Super Rugby, 30 March, 2018
|Fulltime - Rebels 19, Hurricanes 50|
|Referee: Angus Gardner|
|Touch judges: Will Houston & Jordan Way|
|TMO: George Ayoub|
The Rebels have been humbled in the first trans-Tasman clash of the 2018 Super Rugby season, copping a 31-point loss from the Hurricanes.
Here it is folks! Trans-Tasman clash No.1 for season 2018, and it should be a belter. Tonight, the table topping Melbourne Rebels host the 2016 champions, the Hurricanes at AAMI Park. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:45pm AEDT.
Before the preview – a betting stat. No team topping the table at the end of Round 7 has ever started as outsiders with the bookmakers; let alone as $4 long shots.
That speaks to the woeful record of Australian sides against their NZ counterparts in 2017, but probably isn’t indicative of the Rebels true chances in tonight’s fixture.
So… the game.
The Rebels are top of the table, on 20 points. They’ve lost only once this season, to the NSW Waratahs two starts ago. Even without Dane Haylett-Petty, they were impressive in their dismantling of the Sharks last week.
Jack Maddocks, Marika Koroibete and Sefa Naivalu were a dynamic trio, while Billy Meakes and Jack Debreczeni were immense.
In team news for Melbourne, Tom English checks back in on the right wing, pushing Naivalu to the bench, while Anaru Rangi has held his spot at hooker despite the availability of Jordan Uelese.
The Hurricanes are a complete package, and will provide an immense challenge. Their backline boasts names such as Barrett’s Beauden and Jordie, Ngani Laumape and one of the form wingers in the tournament in Ben Lam.
That’s before we discuss halfback TJ Perenara, whose matchup with Will Genia will be a key factor in determining the outcome of the match. The scrum will be tightly contested, with Chris Eves, Ben May and hooker Ricky Riccitelli forming a dangerous front row.
With both sides coming off strong last start wins, expect another high-quality performance.
Where the game will be won
Finishing. Jack Maddocks is the equal leading try-scorer in this year’s super rugby tournament, and with Koroibete and English on his flanks, there is finishing potential out wide.
If they don’t fire, they’re no chance. The Hurricanes are genuine quality, and need to win to build a gap atop the New Zealand conderence.
Hurricanes by 9
Join The Roar for live scores of the match, starting from 7:45pm AEDT.