Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force Predictions: Rebels to bounce back in Melbourne

 | February 29 | 

3 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

Our Rugby Expert Alex Cox is back with another top preview and prediction for the Friday morning Super Rugby game.

Melbourne Rebels vs Western Storm Betting Tips

  • Rebels -6.5 @ 5/6

It’s certainly been a turbulent start to the season for the Melbourne Rebels. After moving into voluntary Administration and being financially propped up by Rugby Australia for the 2024 Super Rugby season, there is still uncertainty around the future of the team. Unfortunately, this peril didn’t generate a galvanizing performance last week and instead they lost handsomely to a very good Brumbies side. However, they have made some positive team changes this week and I think hosting the Super Round in Melbourne, may initiate a positive reaction from the Rebels.

The Force equally struggled last week, with the Hurricanes claiming a comfortable win by a 30-point margin. They have a number of new players down the spine of this team and I think it will inevitably take some time for them to gel together. In recent history, the Force have not travelled well, losing in their last 8 games away from Perth and I think that statistic is likely to extend to 9 games after this fixture.

Team News: 

Rebels

The Rebels have made a few changes in their attempt to get back on track. One of those key changes is up front, with the wrecking ball that is Taniela Tupou starting this week. He is joined in the front row by Mafi and Gibbon. In behind those 3 are Salakaia-Loto and Canham, with Kemeny, Wilkin and Leota rounding off the forwards. It’s a strong Rebels pack and I’m sure they’ll look to gain dominance at scrum time early.

In the backs this week, Englishman Maunder is dropped from the 23, with Tuttle starting in his place at Scrum Half and he’s partnered with Gordon at Fly Half. It’s a Kiwi pair in the midfield with Feliuai at 12 and Matt Proctor at 13 on his Rebels debut, after spending the last 4 seasons at Northampton Saints. Daugunu was out of position at 13 last week but will start back on the wing this week with ex-Aussie 7s speedster Anderson on the right wing. At 15 again is the ever-impressive Kellaway.

Force

The Force have also made a few changes this week – but these have been forced. After Pearce’s suspension it means Coxon will make his Force debut and start at Loosehead, alongside Horton and ex Puma Medrano. Unfortunately Rodda will be out for a while with an injury but thankfully Force have club captain Jeremy Williams available, and he will partner Franklin in the Locks. The loose trio of Wells, Tizzano and Harris complete the pack.

Out wide the Force have their preferred half back duo of White and Donaldson available, with Stewart and Spink in midfield. Tiatia and Potter will be on the wings and youngster Burey will be at Full-back.

It is the Force bench where I have more concern, and especially at Prop. Hancock and Tauakipulu have only played a handful of games at Super Rugby level and I think the Force will target them in the second half.

Rebels -6.5 @ 5/6

The Rebels spent significant time deep in Brumbies territory last week, as a result of 42 tackle breaks, however their complacency let them down. With the positive personnel changes that the Rebels have made this week, as well as an additional game under their belt, I think we will see a stronger Rebels performance this week both upfront and out wide and ultimately cover this -6.5 handicap. 

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