Rebels ready for historic win in SAfrica

Melbourne Rebels halfback Nic Stirzaker says it’s business as usual despite their Super Rugby season being on the line against the Stormers.

The Rebels are still a slim mathematical chance to make the finals but must win all of their remaining games and hope other results fall their way.

Ahead of their Cape Town match on Sunday morning (AEST), Stirzaker said his team wouldn’t change their approach for the high-stakes affair.

He said the Rebels needed to go back to what they were doing before their disappointing last round loss to the Reds.

“There’s no real change, we need to go back to what we had been doing well for most of the season,” Stirzaker said.

“We need to bring in a heightened level of physicality than last week because that’s important over here in South Africa.

“There’s no major changes just because it’s crunch time.”

The Rebels have lost all eight games they have played in South Africa.

But they have won a record six games this season, including their first victory outside Australia, against the Crusaders in Christchurch in the opening round.

They also beat the Brumbies in Canberra for the first time.

They will have to beat the Stormers, known for their stingy defence, without a key attacking weapon with winger Sefanaia Naivalu ruled out through concussion.

Stirzaker said the Rebels had the depth to cover his loss, with former NSW flyer Cam Crawford, who will make his Rebels debut, coming in.

“We’ve got Cam Crawford, Tom English, Dom Shipperley; a lot of really good wingers who have performed well at this level,” he said.

“For the team there’s no concern, we’ll just move on.”

The Stormers are only one point off top spot in the South African ladder and coach Allister Coetzee said they were wary of a Rebels raid.

They have brought in Springbok Sevens speedster Seabelo Senatla while Louis Schreuder replaces halfback Nic Groom.

“The Rebels have beaten the Crusaders and the Brumbies away this year, so it shows their capacity as a team,” Coetzee told the Stormers website.

“We need to pitch up for this weekend’s match – we need to bring attitude and ensure our physicality is spot-on.

“This is much-improved Rebels team; they’re a good team, they’re well-coached and we know were in for a tough time of it.”

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