Watch Rebels vs Western Force Live Stream - Friday 09 April 11:45

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Friday 09 April 11:45

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AUSTRALIAN SUPER RUGBY ROUND 8

MELBOURNE REBELS VS WESTERN FORCE

FRIDAY APRIL 9, 7.45 PM, AAMI PARK, MELBOURNE

In what seems like an entrée type game, with the main even to come on Saturday evening, the Rebels and Force will do battle, in a game that means everything to these sides as a position in the top 3 is on the line.  Currently, Melbourne hold 3rd with a 2-3 record, but the Force are 1-4, so could easily move into contention for the position Melbourne hold, which gives them a ticket to play 2nd in the finals.  Melbourne are coming off a flogging at this venue last weekend, when the Reds flayed them 44-19, and will have been trained in no uncertain terms to perform much better this weekend.  The Force had they bye, and hence have not played since a hiding of their own, when the Brumbies belted them 42-14 in Canberra, and they too will have to know that a much better effort is needed here and now.  Cool and stabilizing weather is the weather mans word for this match, after some rain/wind in the morning, temperatures around 14 await, in good conditions for rugby.

For the Rebels, Reece Hodge makes the move to fullback, giving Holland a run in the inside centre position, while in the forwards coach Wessels has chosen to bench Uelese the hooker and Steve Cummins for this game.  James Hanson will start at hooker while Rob Leota comes in at lock, while on the bench Anae and Nowlan make way for Argentinian star Sordoni and Wilkin.  The Force have made copious amounts of changes to their backs, as their skipper Godwin returns at inside centre, and has Miotti inside him in the halves, while Englishman Olowofela gets a game on the wing.  Thrush comes in at lock, while Argentinian Medrano starts at prop ahead of Greg Holmes, and on the bench Wagner and Longbottom come in, as does debutant Makara, as Lance is omitted.

It was a dour match over in Perth 5 weeks ago when these teams met for the first time in 2021, as the Rebels recorded a 10-7 victory, scoring 2 tries to 1 and hanging on for dear life for the last 10 minutes.  That was not the case in the final game between the two in 2020, played at Newcastle due to the discombobulation of teams from the virus, as the Rebels managed a 34-30 victory, decided by goalkicking after each team scored 4 tries.  The Rebels are -9 in margin betting market estimations, as $1.30 favourites, while the visiting Force are $3.60, leaving it clear the bookies favour the Rebels, despite not giving them a large handicap.

PREDICTION: Melbourne by 10.

BETTING TIP: $2.75 for the Rebels to win by 1-12 is the best value bet to be found.

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