Asteron life super Rugby round 8 preview: Melbourne Rebels vs Queensland Reds

by staff

Melbourne Rebels Form

The RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels will be looking to bounce back on Friday night after a disappointing loss to the competition leading Hurricanes. Despite leading 12-10 at the break, the Hurricanes came out firing in the second half to take the points, showing fans why they will be a force to reckon with in 2015. The Rebels are sitting in third place on the Australian conference ladder after two wins this season, one in their opening match against the Crusaders, the other in round five against the Western Force.

Queensland Reds Form

It’s not been the greatest start to the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season for the St George Queensland Reds, after losing a key playmaker on the eve of the opening weekend. Despite winning their first match against the Western Force, the Reds haven’t had been on form of late losing their last six matches. Fans were hoping for a revamped effort last week with the return of starting players Quade Cooper, Lachie Turner & James O’Connor however the Reds suffered a heartbreaking one point loss to the Lions.

Last time they met

The Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels faced each other twice last year with both teams walking away with a win. However in their last match, it was the Reds who dominated, scoring six tries to two on their way to a 36-20 victory. The Reds were without Qantas Wallabies playmakers Will Genia and Quade Cooper, however it was replacement halfback Nick Frisby who led the way for the Reds, scoring a double!

Key Match-Up - Jack Debreczeni vs Quade Cooper

After a breakout Buildcorp National Rugby Championship in 2014, Melbourne Rebels flyhalf Jack Debreczeni has cemented his spot in the starting XV and will face the challenge of going head to head with experienced international Quade Cooper. Last weekend saw Cooper return for the Queensland Reds, where he showed glimpses of magic, however he wasn’t able to get the Reds over the line in the dying minutes, with his attempted drop goal being charged down.

What they said - Melbourne Rebels

Melbourne Rebels Coach Tony McGahan is expecting strong experienced Reds outfit to run onto AAMI Park on Friday.

“Everybody at the Club is really looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Reds. We had two great battles with them last season, and we are prepared for another; they’re a quality team, with a huge amount of experience at Super 15 and Test match level,” McGahan said.

“Paul (Alo-Emile) has shown in every game what he brings to the team, and while we were disappointed to see Laurie go down, we have greater depth than ever before. Paul played almost a full game last week against the Hurricanes and did a very good job, and Tim Metcher gets his chance on the bench after working so hard since joining the Club late last year.”

What they said - Queensland Reds

Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham: “Last week we started well but lacked combination. The longer the game went the better our performance was. I thought the contribution of the bench was positive and they provided us with an opportunity to ultimately win the game.”

“The playing group are conscious of the need to get better quickly and are pushing each other to ensure we transfer that through to our performance against the Rebels.”