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Reds vs Rebels
Super Rugby, 6 July, 2018
|Fulltime - Reds 37, Rebels 23|
|Referee: Paul Williams|
|Touch judges: Nic Berry & Graham Cooper|
|TMO: Ian Smith|
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The Rebels have their season, and finals ambitions, on the line when they travel north to play the unpredictable Reds in Queensland. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:45pm (AEST).
The Rebels, courtesy of a losing bonus-point to the Waratahs last start, are sitting eighth on the overall ladder, hanging on to the last spot in the quarter-finals.
Melbourne will be painfully aware of the ramifications of a loss tonight. In a game that Dave Wessels would have earmarked as a win, he needs his troops to stand up and lock themselves in for finals rugby.
Much has been made of the expulsion of the Western Force from the competition, and anything less than a finals spot would be deemed a failure in light of that.
In team news, Wallabies flyer Marika Koroibete is a big in on the left wing, and his partnership with Jack Maddocks and Dane Haylett-Petty at the back continues to grow.
Tetera Faulkner starts at loosehead prop, while Anaru Rangi will look to continue his growth at hooker in place of the injured Jordan Uelese. Richard Hardwick returns from his knee injury via the bench.
As for the Reds, they have been frustrating this season, however have shown glimpses of real class and firepower. They have a number of capped Wallabies, and are building a strong, young core that should guide Queensland rugby in the right direction for the next few seasons.
Izack Rodda, fresh off a bumper June Test window, is the big inclusion. However, it’s not all good news, with Samu Kerevi out for up to 14 weeks courtesy of a ruptured bicep. Young winger Jordan Petaia will start at 13 in Kerevi’s absence, allowing Filipo Daugunu a chance to start on the right edge. His match-up with Koroibete will be a belter.
The last time these two teams met, Scott Higginbotham’s ninth-minute red card killed the fixture, so expect discipline from both sides to be a priority.
Ultimately, the only way the Rebels lose this game is if they get caught in a forward battle. Brad Thorn has a willing and ever-improving pack that will be keen to throw their bodyweight around against the potential quarter-finalists.
Who doesn’t love spoiling a party?
The Reds will push the Rebels, but the prospect of finals rugby should be enough of a temptation for the men from Melbourne.
Rebels by 8.