The Sharks host the Rebels in Round 6 of Super Rugby in Durban on Saturday and after relinquishing a commanding lead away to the Lions last week, the visitors wait for a win in South Africa goes on.
Sharks v Rebels, Saturday 23rd March, Durban, KO 17:15 (South African time)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Refs: Divan Uys, Amy Barrat-Theron
TMO: Marius Jonker
Weather Forecast – Durban
The Sharks return from a bye and bid to recapture the winning thread after suffering back to back defeats in local derby matches at home to the Stormers (16-11) and then away at the Bulls (37-14). They started the campaign with a 45-10 bonus point win against the Sunwolves in Singapore and followed up with another full house of log points with a 26-7 home win over the Blues.
The Sharks come into Round 6 fourth best in the South African Conference but only 2 points adrift of the 3 sides above them.
Since 2010 the Sharks have lost just 1 of 16 at home to Australian opposition, a Brumbies victory here in 2013. They have won 13 of those matches but 2 draws came recently, against the Waratahs in 2018 and the Rebels visit here a year earlier.
The Rebels landed in South Africa last week and their first task came away to the Lions. They brought a 100% record into that game and looked likely to extend it when they led 26-5 at half time but the Lions hit back and a late penalty saw the Rebels beaten 36-33 with the try count of 10 shared at 5 each.
Earlier the Rebels had won home and away against the Brumbies and held on to beat the Highlanders in another home fixture and they finished the previous round at the top of the Australian Conference, 2 points clear of the Brumbies who have played 1 game more.
The Rebels have an awful record in South Africa. In 16 matches on SA soil they have lost 15 and the draw with the Sharks in Durban in 2017 and last weeks game in Johannesburg is the nearest they have been to victory.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Phepsi Buthelezi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Marius Louw, 23. Curwin Bosch
Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Tom English, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Matt Phillip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Matt Gibson
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 TBC
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Melbourne Rebels 46-14 Sharks (Tries 6-2 )
2017 Durban Sharks 9-9 Rebels (Tries 0-0)
2015 Durban Sharks 25-21 Rebels (Tries 3-3)
2014 Melbourne Rebels 16-22 Sharks (Tries 1-1 )
2013 Durban Sharks 64-7 Rebels (Tries 10-1)
2014 Melbourne Rebels 32-34 Sharks (Tries 4-4 )
Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change.
I’m not sure an early bye is usually of any benefit but it might not be a bad thing for the Sharks who lost their way after 2 good wins in the first 2 rounds. Their only match against overseas opposition so far saw them comfortably cover the handicap against the Blues in Durban and although the Rebels are threatening to break their SA hoodoo, I will go with the minus here.
Bet: 2 units, Sharks -6.5 points 19/20 Betway
(Unit Scale 1 to 5)
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