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Super Rugby: Rebels face a must-win at Brumbies

The Brumbies play host to a Rebels side who need to record a bonus point win at GIO Stadium to have any chance of securing a place in the end-of-season Finals series.

Meanwhile, the hosts are hoping to claim a victory which could see them finish the regular season in third place, although they will have to do so without skipper Allan Alaalatoa, who is nursing a calf injury.

WhatBrumbies v Rebels
WhereGIO Stadium, Canberra
When19:35 (AEST), Friday 2nd June 2023
How to watchStan Sport
OddsBrumbies 1.25, Rebels 4.00

Brumbies faltering at the wrong time

The Brumbies may be safe and secure for a Finals spot, but their recent form has been far from convincing, with them having lost three of their last five matches.

Defeats to the Hurricanes and Western Force were hugely disappointing, although going down 31-21 to the table-topping Chiefs last time out was not so concerning, although the injury to Alaalatoa certainly was.

However, they can take plenty of confidence from their recent record against the Rebels, having won all of the last four meetings between the two sides and all of the last three at GIO Stadium.

Coach Stephen Larkham has opted to make no fewer than eight changes to his starting XV, with scrum-half Nic White leading the side in the absence of Alaalatoa, while James Slipper is also missing through injury.

White is partnered in the halves by Jack Debreczeni, with Noah Lolesio omitted after suffering a possible concussion in the loss to the Chiefs, while loosehead prop Fred Kaihea will make his first Super Rugby start.

And a key figure for the hosts is set to be Wallabies fullback Tom Wright, who has carried for an average of 98m per game this season, the second-highest tally for any player in the competition.

Wright, who recently extended his contract through to 2025, is 2.40 to score a try at anytime against the Rebels, while the Brumbies are 1.60 to open the scoring in the match.

Rebels confident after Force thrashing

The Rebels have no choice other than to go all-out for the win in Canberra if they are to extend their season into the Finals series.

And they should not be discounted after dishing out a 52-14 beating to the Force last time out, crossing eight times as they kept the play-off hopes alive for at least another week.

Centre Reece Hodge was unable to get amongst the scorers in that game, but will want to mark his 100th Super Rugby appearance with a try against the Brumbies - having crossed five times previously against the ACT outfit.

Hodge, who has agreed a move to France to join Bayonne next season, is 3.40 to score at anytime on Friday evening and he will partner Nick Jooste in the centre.

And one area where the visitors will hope to dominate will be in the pack, with their record of carrying for 196 metres per game with their forwards the leading tally in the competition this season.

Hooker Jordan Uelese is ready for a battle royale up front, telling the media: "This week is a massive challenge for us, but we've been diligent with our preparation, so we're really excited for the battle that is ahead of us.

"They've got a renowned squad with a lot of Wallabies in their team. They're known for their set-piece, so it's on us to try and disrupt that."

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