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Round Two of Super Rugby Pacific wraps up with with an all Australian clash as the Melbourne Rebels take on rivals, the Western Force at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:45 pm (AEDT).
The Rebels will be hoping that they can give their home fans something to cheer about after 287 days without a game played at AAMI Park. Based on the performance in round one, the fans might not be holding their breath. A 5-23 loss to the Reds in an ugly game was disappointing and Rebels coach Kevin Foote has reacted by giving the reigns back to the highly experienced Matt To’ouma who will start at fly half.
The Rebels started with youngster Carter Gordon and while he can’t take all the blame for the loss, he didn’t have a good night and the Rebels really need to find a way to become a genuine attacking threat.
To’ouma will likely look to bring debutant Ray Nu’u into the game plenty and fans are in for a treat if this partnership clicks. The 23 year old inside centre is a scary sight in full flight and as Foote puts it “Ray is a bulldozer – he’s very strong and purpose built for 12,” so expect a number of crash balls from the Rebels.
The Force will feel that they should be heading into this fixture with one win already on the board having led against the Reds with just two minutes left in the game. The fact that they lost will make them a very focused and tough challenge for the Rebels this week.
Centre Bayley Kuenzle is out due to concussion with the highly experienced Richard Kahui able to provide some guidance and support to young fly half Reesjan Pasitoa.
Other than that change, coach Tim Simpson is staying with the same team as last week and why wouldn’t he – the Force played well against the Brumbies and the Rebels should be worried about the work rate of the Force’s pack who were not overcome by the more experienced Canberra forwards.
It is not going to be a happy home coming for the Rebels as the Force spoil the party and steal the points.
Force to win by 10 points.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT), Saturday 26th February 2022
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Rebels $1.90, Force $1.90 – odds via PlayUp
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Referee: James Palmer, Jordan Way
1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Cabous Eboff, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Ross Haylett-Petty, 6. Sam Wallis, 7. Brad Wilkin, 8. Michael Wells (c), 9. Joe Powell, 10. Matt To’ouma, 11. Glen Vaihu, 12. Raymond Nu’u, 13. Stacey Ili, 14. Lachie Anderson, 15. Reece Hodge
16. James Hanson, 17. Matt Gibbon, 18. Sef Fa’agase, 19. Thomas Nowlan, 20. Tamati Ioane, 21. James Tuttle, 22. Carter Gordon, 23. Young Tonumaipea
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u (c), 3. Santiago Medrano, 4. Fergus Lee-Warner, 5. Izack Rodda, 6. Brynard Stander, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Tim Anstee, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Reesjan Pasitoa, 11. Manasa Mataele, 12. Richard Kahui, 13. Kyle Godwin, 14. Toni Pulu, 15. Jake Strachan
16. Andrew Ready, 17. Harrison Lloyd, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Ollie Callan, 21. Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Jake McIntyre, 23. Byron Ralston