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Super Rugby: Brumbies expecting Rebels tester

The Brumbies will be eager to continue their fine Super Rugby Pacific season to date when they head to Melbourne to take on a struggling Rebels outfit on Sunday.

Stephen Larkham’s side have enjoyed a fine campaign to date, winning seven of their nine games played, however, they come into this fixture off the back of a 32-27 defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes.

In contrast to the second-placed Brumbies, the Rebels are down in ninth spot in the Super Rugby standings after just three victories from nine outings and they face a big challenge to secure a Finals spot by finishing in the top eight.

WhatRebels v Brumbies
WhereAAMI Stadium, Melbourne
When14:35 (AEST), Sunday 7th May 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsRebels 4.33, Brumbies 1.22

Brumbies rolling along nicely

Having won seven of their opening eight fixtures, the Brumbies are unlikely to have been blown off course by going down to the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium last time out.

However, they will be eager to get back to wining ways and a visit to the Rebels offers them an outstanding opportunity to do just that.

Those hopes are boosted by the returns of Len Ikitau and Pete Samu from injury, while Tom Hooper is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season.

And Larkham is readying his side for a tough tussle, even if the hosts have not enjoyed the best of fortunes so far this term, saying: "We'll have to be at our best against a tough Rebels side."

The Brumbies have been something of a try-scoring machine in recent games, even crossing three times at they went down the Hurricanes last time out.

Prior to that they had racked up 20 tries in their three consecutive victories over Fijian Drua, the Reds and the Waratahs and they stand second in the try-scoring ladder (43) in Super Rugby so far this season, with only the Hurricanes on 45 ahead of them.

With that in mind, the Brumbies at 1.57 to score the first try of the game makes sense, as does the visitors at 1.68 to register the first score of the match.

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Rebels hope to build on second win

Rebels head coach Kevin Foote and his players earned a welcome boost last time out as they secured a 43-33 victory at Moana Pasifika last time out.

And the feel-good factor in the home camp should be lifted further by the returns of Samoa centre Stacey Ili and Namibia back-rower Richard Hardwick after injury, while David Feliuai has signed a new contract running until 2025.

Alex Mafi will be keen to continue his superb recent form, with the hooker having scored four tries in his last six appearances, including a brace last time out at the Mt Smart Stadium.

He can be backed at 2.75 to score a try against the Brumbies on Sunday.

However, their recent record against this opposition is not impressive, having lost five of their last six Super Rugby games against the Brumbies, including the last three meetings of these two sides.

The overall record between the two teams reads 14 victories for the Brumbies and nine wins for the Rebels, with the two sides having met for the first time back in February 2011, when the Melbourne outfit edged a 25-24 thriller.

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