The RaboDirect Rebels take on the NSW Waratahs this Saturday night at ANZ Stadium, as the Melbourne side look to spring an upset against the defending Asteron Life Super Rugby Champions.
It has been a season of mixed results for the Rebels in 2015, but they have certainly enjoyed the underdog status, having beaten the Crusaders and Aquis Brumbies on the road this year. They went down to the Waratahs in Round 2 by ten points and will be looking to avenge the Weary Dunlop Shield in their Anzac Day clash this weekend.
In-form Rebels halfback Nic Stirzaker is relishing the opportunity to play in his hometown and isn’t shying away from a match up with Qantas Wallabies halfback and close friend, Nick Phipps.
“Yeah it’s nice to play in front of family of friends and it will be good to be back in Sydney. I’m looking forward to playing against Fang, obviously we are good mates and it’s exciting, but I think there will be good matchups across the park.”
The Rebels are chasing a third consecutive win and will need to be at the peak of their powers if they want to match the Waratahs, who beat the table-topping Hurricanes in Wellington last week.
“I think the Waratahs are really starting to hit they’re straps after the win, which will give them some momentum. We’re just focusing on us, trying to be consistent, and repeating what we did last week,” Stirzaker said.
“We go into every week thinking that we’re good enough to win the game. I really think we have built a lot of depth at the club this year, as opposed to years gone by, so we’re really drawing on that and will have to do that later in the season as well.”
In another boost for the Melbourne outfit, loosehead prop Toby Smith has signed on with the team until the end of 2017, which means the Rebels have now secured 23 players until at least the end of next year’s Super Rugby season.
“I am really excited to re-sign here in Melbourne, especially with so many of my teammates doing the same,” Smith said. “We are a tight group of guys with a lot of us living away from home, but to be part of the Rebels family for another couple of years is really exciting.”
Catch all the live action on FOX SPORTS 2 & 2HD from 7:55pm AEST on Saturday 25 April, as the RaboDirect Rebels and NSW Waratahs contest for the Weary Dunlop Shield.