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We have a Super Rugby grudge match on our hands tonight as the Melbourne Rebels play host to the Western Force at AAMI Park. Join The Roar for live scores of the action from 7:45pm (AEST).
There’s always some feeling when these two take to the field after the Force were cut from Super Rugby in 2017 instead of the Rebels. There’s even more incentive for both sides tonight, with the winner to go some way to securing third spot on the ladder and the last place in the finals.
A win will draw the Western Australians level with their opponents on the table on ten points, while a bonus-point victory will propel them into outright third. If the Rebels get up, though, they’ll double their buffer to fourth place and, with just two games to come after tonight, will have all but sealed their place in the post-season.
Melbourne have made a couple of tweaks to their side for this crucial clash, the most notable one being Reece Hodge’s move to fullback to accommodate former sevens star Lewis Holland in midfield.
The Force, meanwhile, have made mass changes to their XV. Domingo Miotti gets his first start for the club at flyhalf, Jeremy Thrush returns to the second row, and Kyle Godwin will make his first appearance of the season in the centres – and as captain, too, with Brynard Stander and Ian Prior sitting on the pine.
Young England flyer Jordan Olowofela will make his first run-on appearance for the Force, and the club are hoping the speedster will be able to open the Rebels up out wide.
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEST)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Rebels $1.26, Force $3.80 (odds via PlayUp)
(1-15): Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Pone Faamausili, Rob Leota, Trevor Hosea, Josh Kemeny, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Matt To’omua (c), Marika Koroibete, Lewis Holland, Stacey Ili, Frank Lomani, Reece Hodge
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon, Lucio Sordoni, Steve Cummins, Brad Wilkin, James Tuttle, Tom Pincus, Jeral Skelton
(1-15): Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu’u, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Thrush, Sitaleki Timani, Fergus Lee-Warner, Kane Koteka, Tomas Lezana, Tomas Cubelli, Domingo Miotti, Jordan Olowofela, Kyle Godwin (c), Tevita Kuridrani, Byron Ralston, Jack McGregor
Reserves: Andrew Ready, Jack Winchester, Angus Wagner, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan McCauley, Tim Anstee, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Grason Makara, Richard Kahui (two to omit)