The Rebels have a tough job ahead - hungry Hurricanes. Image courtesy of skysports.com
Rebels v Hurricanes
Friday May 9 – 7:40 PM (AEST)
This Super Rugby comp is just unpredictable. Teams that finished at the bottom of the table last year are pushing hard for finals berths 12 months later. The Hurricanes looked a sure thing last week against the Waratahs, but blew a healthy lead going down to the home side 39-30. The Rebels on the other hand were courageous in their 22-16 loss to the competition leaders, the Sharks, on Friday.
What has happened to the Rebels? Something has changed - because while they're not winning matches, they aren’t being stomped on either. In a close six-point game on the weekend, they began to show the class and skill required to challenge the giants of the comp. The Rebels have made just two changes from the side that went down in Melbourne last week. Halfback Nic Stirzaker (ankle) is out, with Ben Meehan coming onto the bench. In the front row Pat Leafa, who scored his first try for the Rebels last Friday, replaces Shota Horie at hooker.
Starting the season slow, the Hurricanes have become a powerhouse in their own right. Before the weekend’s loss to the Tah’s, they had won four straight. The Hurricanes have reshuffled their forward pack this week and given a start to energetic openside flanker, Ardie Savea, and prop, Reggie Goodes. Savea replaces Jack Lam, who has been the Hurricanes best forward this year but looked a little tired against the Tahs after a heavy workload this season. Goodes' selection at loosehead sees Ben Franks switch to the tighthead and Jeff Toomaga-Allen drop to the bench. Lock Jeremy Thrush (neck) is bracketed with Blade Thomson in the second row.
The two previous clashes between these sides have been high-scoring affairs, with one win each. But you can expect a tighter battle on Friday.
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