In order to secure a play off spot the Rebels need a win away to the Highlanders in a Super Rugby Round 19 clash in Dunedin on Saturday.
Highlanders v Rebels, Saturday 14th July, Dunedin, KO 07:15 (South African time)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Chris Hart
Weather Forecast N/A indoor stadium
The Highlanders are assured of their play off place and as it stands they would visit the Lions in the first of the knockout rounds. That scenario could all change by the end of Round 19 and the Landers could use a boost in form after losing their 2 most recent matches, NZ derby fixtures against the Chiefs (in Suva) and then to the Crusaders in Christchurch and in both those matches the final score was 45-22.
Although that recent loss to the Chiefs was a home game which the Landers switched to Fiji, they do have 100% record in Dunedin this season including wins against overseas opposition in the shape of the Stormers (33-15), Brumbies (43-17) and the Lions (39-27).
In the New Zealand Conference the Highlanders are in fourth spot, 5 points behind the Chiefs who also have a far superior points difference.
Although the Rebels have lost back to back matches at home to the Waratahs and away to the Reds in the last couple of rounds they are still clinging on to a play off place. The Tahs have sealed top spot in the Australian Conference but victory here would see the Rebels also stay in the tournament whilst defeat would leave them sweating on the outcome of the Sharks game later in the day.
The Melbourne side have won 3 and lost 7 of their away fixtures and an earlier visit to New Zealand saw them come away from Auckland with a 20-10 victory over the Blues in Round 16. On the down side they did ship 50 points and more at home to the Canes and the Saders earlier in the season.
Highlanders – 15 Josh Ioane, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Liam Squire, 7 James Lentjes (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seuili.
Subs: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Dillon Hunt, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Matt Faddes, 23 Josh McKay.
Rebels – 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English (c), 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talaki, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga Tetera Faulkner.
Subs: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Lopeti Timani
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2017 Dunedin Highlanders 51-12 Rebels (Tries 6-2)
2016 Melbourne Rebels 3–27 Highlanders (Tries 0-3 )
2014 Dunedin Highlanders 33–30 Rebels (Tries 3-3)
2013 Melbourne Rebels 38–37 Highlanders (Tries 6-4)
2012 Dunedin Highlanders 43–12 Rebels (Tries 7-0)
2011 Melbourne Rebels 18–40 Highlanders (Tries 2-6)
Highlanders -12.5 points at 9/10 GGaming
Rebels +13.5 points at 9/10 WSB
Note, odds quoted are an average of what was available at the time of last update but are subject to change.
The Highlanders will want to sign off the regular season with a victory on home turf but a number of All Blacks will be missing from the line up and the bigger incentive rests with the Rebels. However the Melbourne side have already passed up 2 opportunities which as it turns out would have sealed a play off spot.
The absence of some big Highlanders guns was highlighted by Brad Breath on our discussion forum early in the week and whilst I would still be a touch cagey an early play on the best current plus does look worthy of interest.
Bet: 4 units (1 to 10 scale) Rebels +13.5 points at 9/10 WSB
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