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Super Rugby: Points and bragging rights up for grabs in Melbourne

After a heavy defeat to the ACT Brumbies in Round 1, Melbourne Rebels will be determined to bounce back on home soil when they face Western Force at AAMI Park on Friday.

The Force also made a losing start to the new Super Rugby campaign against the Hurricanes and a tight contest is expected between these two Aussie sides.

·         What: Rebels v Force
·         Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
·         When: 19:10 (AEST) Friday 1st March 
·         How to watch: Stan Sport
·         Odds: Rebels 1.44, Force 2.87

Rebels seeking response

The Brumbies were the standout Aussie side last season in Super Rugby and in Round 1 of the 2024 campaign, the Canberra outfit showed they are most likely going to be flying the flag for Australia again this term.

A 30-3 win in Melbourne was a strong start for the Brumbies and head coach Stephen Larkham will have been delighted with the performance, especially by not conceding a single try.

Rebels head coach Kevin Foote on the other hand will have been given a stark reminder of the work ahead of his team if they are going to be challenging in the postseason this year.

Friday night does offer a quick opportunity to notch up a first win of the season, against a Force side that have struggled against the Rebels recently.

The Rebels have won two of their last three Super Rugby meetings with Western Force, including an impressive 52-14 win in their last meeting.

With that in mind, it’s understandable why the Rebels are the 1.44 favourites going into this week’s contest at AAMI Park.

Force blown away by Hurricanes

The Force find themselves in a similar situation to Friday’s opponents, after they too were well beaten on home soil in the opening week.

Hurricanes made light work of the Force in the 44-14 victory, with six different players crossing over for tries for the visitors.

It was a first opportunity of the season to see the Force halfback partnership of Nick White and Ben Donaldson in action but they could not get the foothold in the game they would have liked.

On a positive note, White did cross over for a try, just showing the threat the Wallabies scrumhalf can be around the breakdown.

It will be interesting to see the battle of the fly-halves for this one, with Donaldson going head-to-head with Carter Gordon.

Both players will be looking to impress new Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt, who will undoubtedly be paying close attention to proceedings in Melbourne.

The Force will need to tighten up their defence if they are to head back to Perth with the spoils this week.

Western Force are 2.87 to cause an upset and come away from AAMI Park with the win, while they are 1.91 in the Line market with +6.

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