Wrath Of Rathbone

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Anish Debiky/AFP
The Brumbies need to win against the Rebels to keep in touch with the top six. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Anish Debiky/AFP
Brumbies v Rebels
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Saturday May 31 – 7:40 PM (AEST)

Form
Brumbies:
WLWLL
Rebels: WLLWL

This is a big game for the Brumbies . Dropping out of the top six was definitely not on the cards. With the competition taking a hiatus to accommodate Test matches, the prospect of a win before the rest is too good to pass up. The Rebels  are essentially out of finals contention, but they will be looking to restore some pride after getting hammered by the Waratahs last week.

The return of winger Clyde Rathbone is a timely one. Injured in last year’s Super Rugby Final, Rathbone has been sidelined for the last 10 months. Touring South Africa with the Brumbies as a reserve, he has been preparing for this comeback for the past month. Robbie Coleman has been dropped, with Pat McCabe earning a call up at fullback. Ben Alexander has been benched for Saturday night’s match, with Ruan Smith making his first starting appearance for the Brumbies in 2014. The rest of the squad is the same as the one whichfaced the Bulls last Saturday.

The Rebels have faced both spectrums of the Australian Conference in the past fortnight. Two weeks ago they faced the Reds, who are by the far the worst team in the Conference, and won. Then last week they took on the Waratahs, who are now leading the Australian Conference, and were thumped. Experienced duo Laurie Weeks and Tamati Ellison return to the starting IV, with Weeks reclaiming his No.3 jersey and Ellison back in the centres. Japanese internationals Shota Horie and Male Sau are also back after securing 2015 Rugby World Cup qualification for their home country, with Sau starting and Horie set to cover for Pat Leafa at hooker from the bench.

If the Brumbies wish the re-join the top six, it starts with the Rebels. But with the men from Melbourne welcoming back some big names, it’s not going to an easy win.

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