Rebels looking for two wins to cap season

The Melbourne Rebels are desperate to finish their Super Rugby season with two wins and square the ledger for the first time.

Wins against the Bulls on Saturday at AAMI Park followed by the Force would mean eight in total – doubling their tally from 2014 and giving them an even ledger from 16 games.

“Eight against eight will be a great achievement but we know we’ll have to work pretty hard to get that,” lock Luke Jones said.

“With the quality of guys we have we’ve been pretty desperate to prove the competition wrong so I feel like there’s a lot riding on these last two weeks.

“Just because there’s only two games left doesn’t mean we can’t send a message about next year.”

They are hoping that third time’s a charm when they come up against another South African opponent.

After tight losses to the Stormers and Sharks on tour, Jones said they they couldn’t be better prepared for the Bulls.

“We didn’t take our opportunities there for whatever reason and this time we need to play smarter,” Jones said.

“We’re pretty confident of what we’re going to get presented with this week which will be similar stuff so it’s another huge opportunity for us.”

Jones said they also wanted to send off departing players like skipper Scott Higginbotham, Paul Alo-Emile and Cadeyrn Neville on a winning note.

The Bulls enter the last two rounds in ninth place and are the lowest placed team still in finals contention.

They are one spot above the Rebels on the overall ladder.

The Rebels haven’t beaten the Bulls in three previous attempts, with their opponents cracking at least 40 points on each occasion.

Jones said the forwards would again have their work cut out.

“Their forward pack will be awesome; they’re so big so we’re really going to have to shut them down with two-man tackles.

“If we can shut them down that will take away a lot of their forward momentum.”

Alo-Emile, who will play his 50th Rebels match, has returned to the starting line-up to replace the suspended Laurie Weeks.

Halfback Nic Stirzaker has also earned a recall while veteran centre Tamati Ellison has overcome his groin injury to play.

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