Match Preview: Rebels v Chiefs

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019    Getty Images

It’s must-win for both sides if they want to be involved in playoff rugby next week.

Match Detail: Rebels v Chiefs, Friday 14 June 9.45pm, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Played: 6
Won: Rebels 1, Chiefs 5
Last time: Chiefs won 27-14 on 17 March 2017
Referee: Angus Gardner

The last six weeks of Super Rugby haven’t been that kind to the Rebels. After a solid start to the season, the Rebels have lost four times and won just two games. They lost to the Hurricanes 29-19a, beat the Reds 30-24h, lost to the Bulls 32-17h, pumped the Sunwolves 52-7a and then lost a close one at home to the Waratahs 20-15. Their worst result of the season came last week in Christchurch, where they were absolutely smashed 66-0 by the Crusaders. They’ll be out to save face and impress in front of their home fans at AAMI Park one more time in 2019. After a horror run to start the season, recording four losses and a draw, the Chiefs have turned their campaign around and find themselves hunting a playoff spot. The last six weeks have seen them lose to the Hurricanes 47-19a, draw with the Highlanders 31-31a, beat the Sharks 29-23h, lose to the Blues 23-8a and grind out a win over the Reds 19-13 at home. Their best result of the year came before their bye two weeks ago, when they convincingly beat the Crusaders 40-27 in Suva. 
The Chiefs have made 12 offloads per game in Super Rugby this year. That’s more than any other team in the competition and four per game more than the Rebels. 

It’s been a huge week for Brodie Retallick. Signing a new deal with New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs, which will see him spend the next two seasons playing in Japan before returning home to play in 2021. After sitting on the sidelines for the past two months with a wrist injury, Retallick has been named to start alongside locking partner Tyler Ardron. The Chiefs also welcome back All Black hooker Nathan Harris from a thigh niggle. He’ll team up with Angus Ta’avao and Atu Moli in the front row. Both Retallick and Harris are two crucial pieces of the Chiefs puzzle. 

Here’s the situation for both sides on Friday night in terms of their playoff hopes:

Chiefs: The Chiefs have some breathing room over the Highlanders because they have one extra regular season win which places them above the Highlanders despite the fact they are on the same competition points. A bonus point win would be enough to see the Chiefs into the playoffs. If they win without a bonus point, they can still make it if either of the Highlanders or Waratahs win without a bonus point and the Stormers either win or lose without a bonus point.

Rebels: A win or a draw against the Chiefs in Melbourne will confirm the Rebels spot in the playoffs.

FAST FACT (Opta Sports)
Rebels winger Marika Koroibete has scored five tries and provided two try assists in his last five Super Rugby games and crossed for a try in his only previous game against the Chiefs in 2017. 

Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (C), 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner. Reserves: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Campbell Magnay

Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (C), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli. Reserves: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Tumua Manu