Highlanders v Rebels Super Rugby Preview

The Highlanders and Melbourne Rebels kick off the 8th Round of Super Rugby
this season and they will be playing each other for the fourth time.

The Rebels joined Super Rugby in 2011 so the Highlanders have only played the
Rebels three times in Super Rugby.

In those three matches the Highlanders have won twice and the Rebels have won
once. This gives the Highlanders a record of winning 67% of their matches against
the Melbourne side.

The average score when the Highlanders play the Rebels across all venues is:
Highlanders 40 Rebels 23

This weekend the match will be played in Dunedin where the teams have only
met once before. They last time the Rebels visited Dunedin they were thumped
43-12 and that was in March 2012.

As the Highlanders and Rebels have only played once in Dunedin there isn’t
a proper average score for the venue. The Highlanders are therefore undefeated
at home against the Rebels.

The Highlanders go into the match on the back of 30-12 a loss to the Blues
last week and they were never really in the match in Auckland.

There was a surprising drop in form and intensity compared to their 35-31 victory
over the Hurricanes prior to the Blues. It should also be said that the Blues
took a big step up which made the Highlanders look worse than they probably
were.

In terms of selection the Rebels have made four changes for this week and their
star player Jason Woodward who inspired the team last week has retained his
place. The Rebels have lost Tom Kingston and Japanese International Male Sau
replaces Kingston on the right wing, with Jordy Reid and Alex Rokobaro injected
into the matchday squad as reserves for the first time in 2014.

The Highlanders have named Aaron Smith to win his 50th Super Rugby cap and
there is a shuffle in the front row, due to in form prop Kane Hames’ 1 week
suspension for a dangerous charge so Chris King move into loosehead and Ma’afu
Fia get his second start of the 2014 season in the tighthead position.

Gareth Evans rounds out the loose forward trio for this round 8 match up while
Shane Christie and Nasi Manu will be looking for another solid performance after
proving to be a dynamic defensive duo on the field.

The backline sees Shaun Treeby and Kurt Baker back in the starting XV while
Trent Renata has been brought into the match day 23.

The Rebels started the season with a solid victory over the Cheetahs but then
slipped back and lost three matches in a row. Last week however they shocked
2013 finalists the Brumbies.

Both of the Rebels best performances have been at home and they have yet to
deliver away from home.

If there has been one big change in the way that matches are being decided
in 2014 it is home advantage. Teams are winning more at home and this weekend
the Highlanders have home advantage.

The Highlanders have played five matches so far this season and they only venue
where they have won is at home in Dunedin.

The Bookies
have given the Rebels a 7 point start for this Match
– with an
offer of a FREE $150 BET.
We think home advantage will see
the Highlanders home this week. The Highlanders should win by 5
or more.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in
the UK on Sky Sports 3/HD.

Average score: Highlanders 40 Rebels 23

Last three results
12 Jul 2013 Highlanders v Rebels 37-38 Melbourne
30 Mar 2012 Highlanders v Rebels 43-12 Dunedin
15 Apr 2011 Highlanders v Rebel

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