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Thread: Match Preview: Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels

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    Match Preview: Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels

    What a difference a week makes. Last week we were riding high after our first win of the season in Johannesburg and the Rebels were at their lowest ebb after being slaughtered in Brisbane. This week we are the ones who have suffered the demoralizing loss and the Rebels are buoyed by a sublime performance in blowing away the Hurricanes. You would struggle to find two less consistent sides. It will be a first for whoever takes honours in this one: the Force’s first win at home vs the Rebel’s first win away.

    Head to head
    Short of a Perth Spirit vs Melbourne Rebels match in the ARC, which Perth dominated I might add, this will be the first clash between Perth and Melbourne. The new kids on the block vs the not so new kids on the block. It’s bound to be exciting.

    How we are going to win it
    I think that the big mistake that the Hurricanes last weekend was that they allowed themselves to become too loose, relax mentally, and started to push the play when they came under pressure. It looked like they thought they could score from everywhere so they started popping up everywhere, except that when the blowtorch went onto the breakdown there was no one to be seen. Now the Force aren’t going to have the luxury of playing too loose and relaxing.

    There is no way in hell we are going to bust out to a 17 point lead after 20 minutes. But playing for the full 80 minutes is a must. We can’t afford to let the Rebels get the kind of momentum they enjoyed last weekend. Yet again we are going to have to call on the efforts of Hodgson, Brown and McCalman to get in their faces and make guys like Cipriani pull off the kind of passes he threw against the Sharks in round 4: Passes that went to no one metres out from his own try-line.

    A lot of the breaks that the Hurricanes made against the Rebels were out wide and I am sure the home crowd would like the ball to get out to David Smith and Alfie Mafi and get some air. It is a shame that Gerrard is back because Richard Kingi made some pretty big blunders at 15 last weekend and that would be an obvious target in attack. Perhaps playing to Kingi’s poor kicking and Gerrard’s lack of speed or match fitness could also be beneficial.

    Key match-ups
    As with any Australian derby match, there will be some pretty exciting tussles in Saturday’s game. Gareth Delve has been the form player of the Rebels and his face-off against Ben McCalman could be a cracker. Ged Robinson, the Rebel’s young rake, was sensational last weekend; how well will he mix it with the Force’s own dynamic duo in Nathan Charles and Ben Whittaker? However neither Robinson nor Delve are in Wallabies contention. One player who must be very much in Dingo Deans’ sights is Nick Phipps. Whether he comes up against James Stannard, his former 7s teammate, or Brett Sheehan, a former Wallaby, there should be fireworks. Plenty to prove all round here with none of the three players a complete impossibility for the 3rd spot in the World Cup Wallabies squad.

    Predicted result
    If you’d asked me this last weekend I would’ve been 95% confident of a heavy Force victory, but now who knows? The Rebels were as brilliant against the Canes as the Force were terrible against the Stormers. The Rebels’ confidence will be high, particularly with the return of Kevin O’Neill and Mark Gerrard. Hopefully the Force will show up with a point to prove, but equally they could be a bit flat from a combination of the monster trip back from South Africa and the stomach virus that has been doing the rounds. I have a feeling both teams will come out fighting but the Rebels, with one eye on next weekend’s bye, won’t be able to go the distance in a tight match. Force by 4.

    Emirates Western Force v Melbourne Rebels
    Saturday, 2 April 2011 at nib Stadium, Perth
    Kick-off: 7.05pm (AWST)

    Emirates Western Force Squad
    1. Pek Cowan
    2. Nathan Charles
    3. Tim Fairbrother
    4. Sam Wykes
    5. Nathan Sharpe (c)
    6. Richard Brown
    7. Matt Hodgson (vc)
    8. Ben McCalman

    9. Brett Sheehan
    10. James O’Connor
    11. David Smith
    12. Gene Fairbanks
    13. Nick Cummins
    14. Alfie Mafi
    15. Cameron Shepherd

    Reserves
    16. Ben Whittaker
    17. Kieran Longbottom
    18. Tom Hockings
    19. Tevita Metuisela
    20. James Stannard
    21. Matt Brandon
    22. Pat Dellit

    Melbourne Rebels: Mark Gerrard, Richard Kingi, Lachlan Mitchell, Stirling Mortlock (Capt), Luke Rooney, Danny Cipriani, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Michael Lipman, Jarrod Saffy, Kevin O'Neill, Alistair Campbell, Greg Somerville, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Res: Luke Holmes, Laurie Weeks, Hugh Pyle, Tim Davidson, Sam Cordingley, Peter Betham, Afusipa Taumoepeau.

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    Champion Contributor WF1964's Avatar
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    Still no Willie then?

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    That import money has been well spent since the marquee thing started hasn't it?

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    C'mon the

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    Who knew Ripia would get injured. I mean Pretorius was clutching at straws in hindsight but Ripia doesn't have a history of getting injured.

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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    There must be something seriously wrong with the Western Force's conditioning of players, all these injuries can't just be a coincidence. There needs to be a review of training programs or something, because there is definitely a problem somewhere.

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    I say bollocks. Injuries happen. Willie's foot injury was purely chance. There have been instances where we have made bad recruiting decisions ie Pretorius- but then in his case his recruitment ensured that we kept O'Connor for a further two years so it wasn't such a bad deal.

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Well, injuries do happen on the field, but we're getting injuries in training. Some clubs don't seem to have the same rate of injuries.

    There's a theory (in soccer, so maybe not relevant) that over-training makes players more prone to injury.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    maybe its another bad joke... it is that time of year

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Who is this Wille Ripia you speak of?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    but we're getting injuries in training.
    Name 5 in the past two seasons.

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  11. #11
    (a.k.a. Mr Pinkbits) Stone Cold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Name 5 in the past two seasons.
    can we include those injured during the warm-up?

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    coz Stone Cold says so

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    Only those who have been injured in training/warm-up.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    Sheps, ripia, dunning, pretorius, swanipoel
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Disagreement. Shepherd and Pretorius yes. Dunning, Swanepoel and Ripia no.

    Dunning was injured playing the Blues. Ripia was injured in a trial match. When exactly was Swanepoel injured?

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    Apparently Kevin O'Neill has been ruled out. Great news for us.

    This should give us both an edge at the line-out and an edge at the breakdown.

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