Rebels look to break SA hoodoo
Cape Town - The Rebels are in South Africa on a two-match tour with the reality that they have never won in the country hovering over them.
For that reason alone they will be firm underdogs when taking on the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
It has been a largely unpredictable season for the Melbourne-based side, having won six and lost six to find themselves third on the Australian conference ahead of the Reds and the Force.
But the positives far outweigh the negatives for coach Tony McGahan’s squad, and the Rebels are a far cry from the side that finished 2014 bottom of both the Australian conference and the overall log. Still, that doesn’t make Saturday’s Newlands visit any easier, and McGahan knows it.
“The Stormers have got a couple of key components of their game that have been excellent with regard to why they’re doing so well,” McGahan said from Cape Town on Thursday.
The coach made specific reference to the work the Stormers had done in the middle of the park through their centres and their ability to “stop sides”.
“Their scrum this year has also been fantastic. They put a lot of pressure on both sides,” McGahan added.
“Some of the attacking work through the centres has been really strong... how they get good go forward and then play off the back of them.
“If they need to they can also play nice and tight - a strong set piece and a good kicking game.”
Despite their heavy loss to the Reds last weekend, McGahan said the Rebels were in a good frame of mind after arriving in South Africa on Tuesday night.
"The preparation has been fantastic," he said, adding that his side's breakthrough wins this campaign have given the Rebels confidence that they can add another big name to that lists.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:10.
15. Mike Harris, 14. Cam Crawford, 13. Dom Shipperley, 12. Mitch Inman, 11. Tom English, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 9. Nic Stirzaker, 8. Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 6. Sean McMahon, 5. Lopeti Timani, 4. Luke Jones, 3. Paul Alo-Emile, 2. Pat Leafa, 1. Cruze Ah-Nau
Substitutes: 16. Tom Sexton, 17. Keita Inagaki, 18. Laurie Weeks, 19. Cadeyrn Neville, 20. Jordy Reid, 21. Colby Fainga’a, 22. Luke Burgess, 23. Bryce Hegarty