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Super Rugby: Home advantage set to aid Rebels

Melbourne Rebels and Fijian Drua have both started the Super Rugby Pacific season with three wins and three losses, so both teams will be eager to improve their records when they meet at AAMI Park on Friday.

The Rebels got back on track with a narrow 27-21 win over the Waratahs last time out, while the Drua edged out the Waratahs 39-36 before seeing off Western Force 31-13 in their last outing.

A third consecutive win for the visitors would set a new record in their short history in Super Rugby, but the Drua have lost the last 11 games that they have played outside Fiji.

. What: Melbourne Rebels v Fijian Drua
. Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
. When: 19:35, Friday 5th April 2024
. How to watch: Stan Sport
. Odds: Melbourne Rebels 1.61, Fijian Drua 2.37

Rebels still in recovery phase

The Rebels were far from convincing last time out as they edged past the Waratahs, but will have been more than happy to get a win on the board after shipping more than 50 points against both the Reds and the Hurricanes.

Fijian-born Filipo Daugunu was the star of the show as he scored a try and made a game-high 139 metres, having adapted well to a switch from the wing to the centres and he is 2.37 to score a try at anytime against the Drua.

Head coach Kevin Foote has shown faith in most of the players who started the victory over the Waratahs, with second-row forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto having played every minute of the Super Rugby season to date.

Isaac Kailea is fit enough to return on the replacements bench, with Alex Mafi and Taniela Tupou both powerful options off the bench.

And Foote may be looking to use a disciplinary advantage that his side hold over the Drua, who have conceded a tournament-high 78 penalties so far this season and collected six cards in the process.

The Rebels have given away 42 penalties, which is the best record in the competition, and they have only had two players sent to the sin-bin.

However, the hosts will have to be at their best to see off a side who have won two of the three previous meetings between these two teams.

Drua need to end away-day blues

While the Drua have already got three wins on the board this season, they have lost on all three of their road trips and need to try and find a way to improve their performances outside of Fiji.

Head coach Mick Byrne at least has the major boost of skipper Meli Derenalagi returning to the starting XV after being rested for the victory over Western Force, while the Drua definitely have a player in form in the shape of Iosefo Masi.

The centre has scored six tries in his last three Super Rugby appearances, making him the joint-highest tryscorer in the season to date.

Masi is 2.87 to score a try at anytime against the Rebels, while he is priced at 19.00 to score the first try of the clash at AAMI Park.

And coach Byrne is well aware of the need to show up and put on a performance away from home, telling fijilive: "We need to show ourselves that we can deliver in away games.

"We need away wins in order to secure a spot in finals, that’s why it’s an important game for us against the Rebels."

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