Super Rugby Trans-Tasman preview - Rebels

Tue, 11/05/2021, 05:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
One of the main highlights for the Rebels: Reclaiming the Weary Dunlop Shield. Photo: Getty Images.

The Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby teams are set to battle it out for supremacy across Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

Rugby.com.au will be previewing every Australian team along with their New Zealand counterparts.

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The Melbourne Rebels will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing end to their Super Rugby AU season.

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SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN FIXTURES: REBELS

The Rebels host the Blues at AAMI in the opening round on 9Gem, however, will be without Isi Naisarani, Pone Fa'amausili (Suspension) and Dale Haylett-Petty (Concussion).

They will then spend the next three weeks on the road, facing the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs.

The Rebels return home for the final match of the season against the Crusaders.

Full Fixtures

Melbourne Rebels v Blues, Saturday 15 May, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7:45pm

Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels, Friday 21 May, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 5:05pm

Highlanders v Melbourne Rebels, Sunday 30 May, Queenstown Recreation Centre, Queenstown, 12:35 pm.

Chiefs v Melbourne Rebels, Saturday 5 June, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 2:35pm

Melbourne Rebels v Crusaders, Saturday 12 June, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 2:35pm

REBELS SUPER RUGBY AU FORM

The Rebels had a tough start to the year, forced to flee Melbourne after an outbreak of COVID.

However, they went agonisingly close to upsetting the Reds and Brumbies, with a penalty kick the difference.

They would bounce back with wins over the Force and Waratahs before collapsing to end the season, winning just one from their last four to miss the finals.

The poor finish saw coach Dave Wessels step down from his position, replaced by Kevin Foote.

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REBELS KEY FIXTURE

With the majority of their Trans-Tasman season spent overseas, they need to get off to a good start against the Hurricanes in Round Two.

They will likely get their suspended pair back and will look at the game against the Aotearoa wooden spooners as a winnable game.

If not, then it could be a long trip for Kevin Foote's men, not getting easier on their return to Australia as a date with the Crusaders looms for the final round

REBELS KEY PLAYER: MARIKA KOROIBETE

Once again, Marika Koroibete looms as the key difference-maker for the Rebels if they wish to open up their Kiwi rivals.

Foote and the Rebels have all but admitted that they failed to feed him enough ball during the AU season as he went on a try-less run.

Even with that, he still led the comp in carries (86), tackle busts (26), offloads (10) as well as sitting second for line breaks (11).

In an attack that went missing throughout the year, Koroibete needs to find more ball and the try-line if they wish to compete.

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