Tahs ready to put the heat on Rebels

Super Rugby
by AAP

The NSW Waratahs believe that Sydney's weekend heatwave will play into their hands when they take on the Melbourne Rebels in Sunday's Super Rugby conference derby at Allianz Stadium.

The competition's heat rule will likely be in effect, with extra drinks breaks compulsory if the mercury soars above 35C in Sydney, as predicted.

Far from concerned, the Waratahs are embracing the chance to potentially brutal conditions and hope the 4.05pm kick-off will prove advantageous to the hosts.

"It's part of the game and both teams are going to have to deal with it," NSW captain Michael Hooper said.

"We've worked hard, we've been training in a lot of this heat for the majority of the season and overseas was quite like this.

"The Sharks game (in Durban) was really warm in the afternoon, particularly in the first half.

"It's crazy hot but it's not too different from what we had previously."

Hooper and his Waratahs hope their Victorian-based counterparts wilt in the soaring temperatures, particularly late in both halves, allowing match-winners such as Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau to cash in.

"Hopefully that's an advantage," fullback Bryce Hegarty said.

"We won't do anything too differently. We've got a game plan and that changes each week to week but we'll continue to play our game.

"We're a smaller more mobile team so we'll play to that.

"There's some big ball carriers in their side and we've got to nullify them early and get on top of them. Hopefully it'll open up a bit later."

With a win, a draw and a loss in three starts, the Waratahs have already slipped nine competition points behind the unbeaten Rebels and can't afford any more early-season slip-ups.

Melbourne captain Adam Coleman says the Rebels won't underestimate their rivals, especially with Wallabies Sekope Kepu and Rob Simmons back to bolster their pack.

"For years the Waratahs have been a class outfit," said Coleman, himself returning to the Rebels second-row after two weeks out with a sternum injury.

"They've got threats throughout the field and a very good forward pack. They've got 'Simmo' back to shore up their lineout and 'Keps' back to shore up their scrum, so no doubt they will be a different beast come Sunday."

The Rebels face the Waratahs in Sydney at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, kicking off at 4:05pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.