Rebels vs Force: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

The Melbourne Rebels continue their dominance over the Force as Sefanaia Naivalu continues to impress at the Super Rugby level while a recently named Wallabies squad member faces a race against time. 

Harris Heartbreak

A massive blow for the Rebels utility back who looks set to be unavailable for the Wallabies just days after a Test squad recall. Harris has struggled with soft tissues injuries of late, missing 10 weeks after injuring his quad in round one, while today’s game was just his third back in the starting team. It will be a race against time for Harris to prove his fitness.

Naivalu a Wallaby in waiting

Fresh off signing a new contract that will see him remain at the Rebels until the end of 2019, Naivalu showed why he is so damaging with the ball in hand. The Fijian-born speedster is already on Michael Cheika’s radar for a Wallabies call up once eligible, and if he continues this form might be wearing the gold jersey once he's eligible.

Sefanaia Naivalu scored a double to help set up the Rebels victory. Photo: Getty Images

Missed opportunities

We’ve all seen the video of Reece Hodge nailing a 70m kick at Manly oval that led to him being picked up by the Melbourne Rebels last year, but while we know he has a huge boot, he was off target on Sunday afternoon. It didn't end up costing the Rebels too much but it is a worry.

Confidence booster for Morahan

While it was a disappointing afternoon for fellow Wallabies squad member Mike Harris, Luke Morahan will be full of confidence as he prepares to join the 39-man squad on the Sunshine Coast later tonight. Morahan scored arguable one of the best tries seen in Super Rugby this season as he hopes to add to the one international cap he earnt in 2012. If that wasn’t enough, Morahan dotted over for his second of the match in the 71st minute to keep the Force in with a chance.

Close encounters continue

The Rebels have held the edge over the Force of late having won seven of their last nine encounters, but history shows you can always expect a close encounter. In their 11-game history only one match has been decided by more than seven points and once again we witnessed fans were treated to a close match. The Rebels held on to a five-point victory and go into the Test break on a high.

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