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Two rounds in and both the Rebels and Waratahs are already struggling for confidence as the two teams clash in a vital game in Super Rugby Round 3 at AAMI Park. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:15pm (AEDT).
Season 2020 already has an aura of doom and gloom for the Rebels and the Waratahs as both remain winless after two rounds.
The Rebels have been guilty of giving up huge leads early in matches against the Brumbies and Sunwolves en route to comprehensive defeats. The Waratahs have not fared any better, losing a bitterly disappointing contest to the Blues last week in Newcastle.
In a good case of seasonal symbolism, the Waratahs never got going in tough wet conditions in front of the lowest Waratahs crowd in history. Things are not looking good for NSW and the glory days of 2014 feel like a lifetime ago.
But another round of Super Rugby provides new opportunity to bounce back for both clubs and a win hopefully kickstarts the season of an Australian club in dire need of some confidence.
For the Waratahs to cause the upset, the usual suspects have to lead – Wallabies players Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale. If they play well, the Waratahs’ stocks grow and if they don’t, chances of defeat rise considerably.
As for Melbourne, Matt Toomua needs to star while Dane Haylett-Petty performed well last week in a losing side against the Brumbies. Both players will feature heavily if Melbourne are to win.
In a difficult game to predict, the Waratahs may be value for an upset if they get their act together, but I feel that confidence is pretty low at the moment in NSW, and that may just provide the Rebels with the chance to claim their opening win of the season at home.
Rebels by seven.
Time: 7:15pm (AEDT)
Venue: AAMI Park
Coverage: Fox Sports, Kayo Sports
Betting: Rebels $1.68, Waratahs $2.20
1. Matt Gibbon, 2. Anaru Rangi, 3. Ruan Smith, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Michael Wells, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Ryan Louwrens, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Bill Meakes, 13. Campbell Magnay, 14. Reece Hodge, 15. Dane Haylett-Petty. Reserves: 16. Steven Misa, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Cabous Eloff, 19. Gideon Koegelenberg, 20. Rob Leota, 21. Angus Cottrell, 22. Frank Lomani, 23. Andrew Kellaway.
1. Angus Bell, 2. Robbie Abel, 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 4. Tom Staniforth, 5. Rob Simmons (c), 6. Jed Holloway, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Jack Dempsey, 9. Jake Gordon, 10. Will Harrison, 11. Jack Maddocks, 12. Karmichael Hunt, 13. Alex Newsome, 14. Cameron Clark, 15. Kurtley Beale. Reserves: 16. Damien Fitzpatrick, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Tetera Faulkner, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Lachlan Swinton, 21. Mitch Short, 22. Lalakai Foketi, 23. Mark Nawaqanitawase.