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Rebels vs Sunwolves
Super Rugby, 25 May, 2018
|Fulltime - Rebels 40, Sunwolves 13|
|Referee: Federico Anselmi|
|Touch judges: Will Houston & Graham Cooper|
|TMO: Ian Smith|
The Melbourne Rebels host the hot Sunwolves in Melbourne tonight in the third ever clash between these two Super Rugby sides. Join The Roar from 7:45pm (AEST) for live scores and commentary.
The Melbourne Rebels, after starting the season so well, are spluttering their way around in second position in the Australian Conference, quickly losing touch with the Waratahs. Their attack, which looked so good through the first six rounds, has faltered without the enigmatic Will Genia at halfback.
That being said, when they fire, they do look the goods, and with Dane Haylett-Petty returning at fullback, there’s enough there to suggest that, should their passes stick, points will be scored.
In team news, as mentioned above, Haylett-Petty returns to team up with Jack Maddocks and Marika Koroibete in the back three, while Billy Meakes and Tom English resume their midfield partnership.
Sam Talakai starts in the front row, while 2017 Shute Shield player of the year Tayler Adams wins his first spot on the bench. Should he get on, it would be a richly deserved debut for the Southern Districts workhorse.
As for the Sunwolves, boy have they been good in the last two weeks.
They’ve got one of the in-form five-eighths in the tournament in Hayden Parker, whose deft feet at the line and vision have been the crux of a firing attack over the past month. He’s also the best goal-kicker in the competition and can throw them over from pretty much anywhere in opposition territory.
Michael Little is a beast and matches up extremely well against his opposite number at outside centre. Back rowers Ed Quirk, Grant Hattingh and Shunsuke Nunomaki give them good go forward, while their set piece has benefited greatly from tall timber Shinya Makabe and James Moore in recent weeks.
We know both these sides like to throw the ball around, and, assuming they go into tonight’s fixture with that same attacking mindset, it will come down to counter-attack and whoever plays the best opportunistic rugby.
My gut says the Rebels, but I ate a dodgy curry at lunch, so it could just be that…
Rebels by 12.
Join The Roar for live scores and commentary of the match, starting from 7:45pm (AEST).