Melbourne captain Nic Stirzaker says the Rebels will need to match the renowned physicality of the Brumbies if they are to prevail in Friday night’s season-defining Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park.
The Brumbies moved to the top of the Australian conference standings in the wake of last weekend’s 23-6 win over the Bulls.
Coming off the bye, the Rebels are just two points adrift in third spot as they continue to push hard for a maiden Super Rugby playoff spot.
“The Brumbies have been a really successful team for the last few years on the back of good kicking, on the back of a good set-piece, mauling and being really physical at the breakdown,” Stirzaker said on Monday.
“We had really good encounters against them last year both here and in Canberra so we’ll be doing our homework on them this week and we’ll have to match their physicality at the breakdown and in defence.
“(Their strengths are) their forward pack and their set-piece.”
With next month’s Test series against England looming large on the horizon, the back-row battle between the likes of Pocock and rising Rebels star Sean McMahon shapes as an intriguing one.
“Sean McMahon just keeps going better and better each week and (Rebels prop) Toby Smith is definitely doing a great job at the front so there are plenty of guys putting their hands up (for Wallabies selection),” said half-back Stirzaker.
“Guys will get rewarded on the back of results.”
BIG THREE WEEKS FOR REBELS
May 13 – v Brumbies (home)
May 21 – v Chiefs (away)
May 29 – v Western Force (home)
1. ACT Brumbies (25 points)
2. NSW Waratahs (25)
3. Melbourne Rebels (23)
4. Queensland Reds (12)
5. Western Force (10)