Melbourne Rebels

Match Preview – Sharks v Rebels

Match Preview – Sharks v Rebels

The Rebels continue their tour of South Africa this week in Durban where they face the Sharks.

Both sides coming off disappointing losses last weekend. The last time these two sides meet in Durban they played out a 9 all draw, all I can say is that I expect to see more points than that by half time in this one.


The Rebels form is a bit hard to tell, they won there first three games of the season, two wins over the Brumbies and one against a Highlanders side missing a few All Blacks. They lost last week to the Lions after throwing away a massive lead. This week, the Rebels are missing a few of there stars. Adam Coleman, Will Genia, Marika Koroibete and Isi Naisarani returning to Australia for Wallaby rest duty.

The Sharks season started nicely with good wins over the Sunwolves and Blues. But in the last two games, they have been disappointing with loses to the Stormers and Bulls. The bye last week could have helped them refocus, but this Rebels fan is hoping it’s had them over thinking about the lose for an extra week and they come out slow.


The Rebels have made plenty of changes to the side that faced the Lions last weekend.  Local product Sione Tuipulotu starts at 13 this week with Tom English moving to the wing and Cambell Magney making his first Rebels appearance from the bench. Other changes include Jack Maddocks starting at Full back, with DHP ruled out for 6 weeks with a foot injury. Luke Jones has retained the blindside flanker position after his solid performance last weekend, he has looked quite sharp since returning from France this season.

Maddocks, the Rebels scoring machine.

I’m looking forward to seeing Pone Fa’amausili get some game time off the bench, we need a prop of his size to break through and stabilize the pack against sides with a more dominate scrum.


The Sharks, well I have only really seen highlights of there season so far. In fact, I’m trying to work out who are these guys? I don’t recognize too many names on the team sheet, this side makes the Rebels side look old and experienced. Then you come to the front row and then realise that the Rebels will be in for a long night.

Key Match-Ups

Who should we keep our eyes on this week?

Billy Meakes v Andre Esterhuizen

I have to admit I was never a big Meakes fan, but playing outside of Quade this year he has really looked good, his defence has been solid and he looked quite good on attack. The way the young Sharks backs have been throwing the ball around Esterhuizen needs to be on his game, as Meakes has a knack for an intercept and any loose offloads from Esterhuizen could end up being punished.

Embed from Getty Images 

Billy on his way to a try against the Lions.

He might not be in Cheika’s plans just yet, but a good game against Esterhuizen should help change his mind.

Anaru Rangi v Akker van der Merwe

What more could you ask for than two big balling running hookers coming face to face? Both love to get the ball in hand and test out the opposition defence.  We even saw some fancy footwork from Rangi, perhaps a little dance, in the lead-up to that marvellous second try from last weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Akker van der Merwe – loves a run.

Adding to his running flair, Rangi has been working on his set piece, resulting in more wins at scrum and lineout time.  If he continus to improve his consistency, and has another big game against the Sharks, Rangi could easily gind himself on a plane to Japan in September.

Angus Cottrell v Rasta Rasivhenge

After last weekend Angus Cottrell has a big job on his hands taking on the captaincy for the first time.  While I really like DHP as a player I find that his to far away from the action to really have any sway on the referee as captain.  When questions needed to be asked the captain needs to be the one asking and from full back when a scrum is resetting it’s a bit to far.

Angus is a hard-nosed forward, with a tireless work rate and strong presence at the breakdown.  I’m sure this will show in his on-field leadership, and help to lift players at key moments.

Fearless prediction

Heart says Rebels, head says Sharks. It’s a really tough one to call, the Sharks looked good against the Sunwolves and Blues but struggled against the Stormers and Bulls. The Rebels have only really looked good for the first 40 minutes last weekend and ill-discipline and game management cost them that elusive South African win.  If Genia was playing I would be picking the Rebels, but cause his back home, I pick the Sharks by 1.



1 Tendai Mtawarira

2 Akker van der Merwe

3 Coenie Oosthuizen

4 Ruben van Heerden

5 Hyron Andrews

6 Phepsi Buthelezi

7 Jacques Vermeulen

8 Daniel du Preez

9 Louis Schreuder

10 Robert du Preez

11 Makazole Mapimpi

12 Andre Esterhuizen

13 Lukhanyo Am

14 Sbu Noski

15 Aphelele Fassi

16 Craig Burden

17 Juan Schoeman

18 Thomas du Toit

19 Gideon Koegelenberg

20 Luke Stringer

21 Grant Williams

22 Marius Louw

23. Curwin Bosch


1. Matt Gibbon

2. Anaru Rangi

3. Sam Talakai

4. Ross Haylett-Petty

5. Matt Philip

6. Luke Jones

7. Richard Hardwick

8. Angus Cottrell

9. Michael Ruru

10. Quade Cooper

11. Tom English

12. Billy Meakes

13. Sione Tuipulotu

14. Reece Hodge

15. Jack Maddocks

16. Robbie Abel

17. Tetera Faulkner

18. Pone Fa’amausili

19. Rob Leota

20. Brad Wilkin

21. Harrison Goddard

22. Campbell Magnay

23. TBC

Melbourne Rebels

Irish born Melbournian who loves all things Rugby so really grew up in the wrong city. Munster, Rebels, Ireland, B&I Lions.

More in Melbourne Rebels