Super finals and Test jerseys on the line for Rebels

Tue, May 30, 2023, 10:27 PM
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP
The Melbourne Rebels look to keep their finals hopes alive against the Western Force

While their slim hopes of playing Super Rugby Pacific finals hang on a win over the ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese says there's plenty on the line on a personal level.

The Rebels head to Canberra for Friday night's clash in 11th spot, needing a bonus-point victory plus a string of results to fall their way to sneak into the finals.

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The fourth-placed Brumbies are looking for a win to push up to third but suffered a blow with skipper Allan Alaalatoa injuring his calf against the Chiefs last time out.

As well as the final round scenarios, Uelese is relishing a battle with fellow Wallabies hooking contender Lachlan Lonergan, particularly as the match could be the last chance for Melbourne players to impress Test coach Eddie Jones.

Both players were part of the recent Wallabies training squad, with the first Test against South Africa looming on Saturday July 8 in Pretoria.

"Every time I go out to play I'm always trying to put my hand up for the (international) jersey and hopefully playing well for the Rebels translates into that," the 26-year-old said.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about those things but it's team first.

"(The Brumbies) are a renowned squad with a lot of Wallabies in their team and they're known for their set piece, so we'll be trying to disrupt that the best we can.

"We feel if we can nullify their set piece we have a big chance of winning the game."

The last time the teams met, the Brumbies ran out 33-26 winners at AAMI Park in early May, with the Rebels blowing multiple try-scoring opportunities at the death.

"Losses like that hurt the most because we know we had chances to win the game," Uelese said.

"We take great confidence from that game."

Uelese gave his best display of the season in the Rebels' thumping 52-14 win over the Western Force last Friday, with some big carries and repeat efforts.

"Having more minutes under my belt I was able to get into the flow of the game a bit better," Uelese, who has 15 Test caps, said.

"I've had a few work-ons, trying to get my hands on the ball more and get more involved but as a pack we had a pretty good performance.

"I'm trying to have a point of difference, to use my body in a way that allows the team to get forward - having my own superpower."