This will be a massive game on Friday night for both teams as they look to take advantage in the tight Australian Conference. It’s the only meeting between the two teams this season.
Both teams are in the middle of a three way battle for top spot with a place in finals on the line already. The Rebels have been successful against all Australian opposition this season and will be looking to add the Brumbies to the list, while the Brumbies have had some mixed results recently losing a couple of games to Kiwi opposition in recent weeks before a solid performance against the Bulls last week.
The Rebels are coming off the most important bye of the season – Tony McGahan has the strongest squad to select from with Mike Harris and Tom English both set to return from injury to bolster the backs. I’d expect to see both English and Harris return straight back into the starting line up; the return of Harris is going to be vital as Jack Debreczeni has struggled from the tee this season. If the Rebels are going to come away with a much needed home win they will need to take all the points presented.
The Brumbies are at the end of a tough 5 game stretch and will be looking forward to their bye next week, this Rebels fan is hoping they are already in holiday mode and switch off early. Having won just two of their last five games (who could have thought you would be hearing that after the early season form) they will be hungry to finish this one with a win and remain in the hunt for that top of the conference finals spot. With a relatively easy run in their last four games of the season this is a must win for both sides.
The current Wallabies v The new kids on the Block, all 3 key match ups are guys who will be giving Cheika a selection headache ahead of the series against England in a few weeks time.
McMahon v Pocock
McMahon has been a revelation for the Rebels this season, when his played well the Rebels have played well. I think he and Jordy have really benefited from having Thomson along side them this season. Pocock does not really need a form analysis, just hope that the Rebels back row can stop him from having to much impact at the breakdown.
Moore v Hanson
The two best Hookers in the country at the moment square off in this one, in recent weeks Hanson has become a real pain around the field playing more like a 4th flanker. Moore is still the best in the country and will be looking to lead his team to another victory.
Smith v Sio
I really like the way Smith has improved this season, I think the World Cup did a lot for his game and he knows exactly what is required of him to really make the next step towards becoming a regular in the Wallabies set up. Scott Sio on the other hand is coming off a quite game against the Bulls and will have a lot to prove this weekend.
Who could forget that magical night the Rebels won their first game? I certainly can’t. In 2015 both teams had one win a piece. The Brumbies are ahead in the overall wins tally.
I have a feeling the Rebels will rebound and come away with the win, the return of key players while the Brumbies have lost their biggest treat in Tomane will be enough for the Rebels.
Rebels by 5
17) Ah Nau
14) Ah Wong
Taliauli Jackson Hope