Out of the last five Super Rugby matches between the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force the newcomers to Super Rugby the Rebels have won four and the Force one.
The Rebels and the Western Force have already played each other once this season and that match ended in the Force hammering the Rebels 7-32 in Perth. That match was the start of the Force's record breaking run that they are still enjoying. =
Overall the Rebels have played the Western Force seven times since they joined Super Rugby in 2011 and the Rebels have won five of the matches.
That gives the Rebels a record of winning 71% of their matches against the Force. The average score when the Rebels play Force across all venues is however: Rebels 26 Western Force 27
Although the Rebels have played the Force seven times just three of the matches between the teams have been played in Melbourne. The Force won the first match in 2011 and the Rebels have won the last two. That means that Rebels have won two and lost one match in Melbourne giving them a record of winning 67% of their home matches against the Force.
The average score when the Rebels play the Western Force in Melbourne is Rebels 28 Western Force 26.
In terms of form the Force have now won five matches in a row which is the best run they have ever enjoyed in Super Rugby. Last year they won five Super Rugby matches all season and they are on Super Rugby's longest winning streak for all teams this year.
In selection terms the Force have made several changes for this week. Adam Coleman and Ian Prior have both been given their first starts of the season and scrumhalf Justin Turner is in line to make his first appearance for the Western Force since the corresponding match in 2012.
Winger Patrick Dellit makes his return to the Western Force's back three, joining fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and Nick Cummins. Lock Phoenix Battye, who is capped 11 times for the Western Australian club, earns his first appearance on the Force bench for 2014.
The Rebels have suffered two narrow away losses in recent weeks to the Highlanders and the Chiefs. Prior to those losses they beat the Brumbies at home in Melbourne. This trend is in line with the way Super Rugby has been going this season as home victories are becoming all the more common.
The Rebels have made one change to the side that lost to the Chiefs. The week before that they made two changes so their selections have been fairly consistent in recent weeks where injuries have permitted.
Both teams have played seven matches but the Force have played one more match at home than the Rebels. The Force have won five matches and the Rebels have won two matches.
The Force have played three matches away from home and they have won two and lost one. The Rebels have the same record at home as they have played three and won two.
The Rebels have home advantage this week but the Western Force are Super Rugby's form team so who should be considered favourites ? Looking at the Super Rugby standings the Force have moved up to fourth place overall while the Rebels are down in 13th place.
The Bookies have given the Western Force a 2 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $250.00 Bet. We are going to go with home advantage this week. The Force's victory over the Rebels earlier this season will have given the Melbourne side an extra motivation to win this week. The Rebels should edge this by 2.
This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 2/HD on the Red Button.
Average score: Rebels 26 Western Force 27
Last five results
08 Mar 2014 Rebels v Force 7-32 Perth
06 Apr 2013 Rebels v Force 30-23 Perth
15 Feb 2013 Rebels v Force 30-23 Melbourne
20 May 2012 Rebels v Force 32-31 Perth
23 Mar 2012 Rebels v Force 30-29 Melbourne
Rebels overall record against the Force
Played 7 , Wins 5, Losses 2, Draws 0
Match No. 57: Rebels v Force
Date :Friday 18 April
Venue : AAMI Park
Kick Off local: 19:40
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 1: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Gardner
TMO: Steve Leszczynski
1. Toby Smith,2. Shota Horie,3. Laurie Weeks,4. Cadeyrn Neville,5. Luke Jones,6. Colby Fainga'a,7. Scott Fuglistaller,8. Scott Higginbotham (C),9. Nic Stirzaker,10. Bryce Hegarty,11. Tom English,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison,14. Male Sau,15. Jason Woodward
Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa, 17. Cruze Ah-Nau,18. Paul Alo-Emilie,19. Hugh Pyle,20. Sean McMahon,21. Luke Burgess,22. Tom Kingston,23. Angus Roberts
1. Pek Cowan,2. Nathan Charles,3. Kieran Longbottom,4. Adam Coleman,5. Wilhelm Steenkamp ,6. Angus Cottrell,7. Matt Hodgson (c),8. Ben McCalman,9. Ian Prior,10. Sias Ebersohn,11. Nick Cummins ,12. Kyle Godwin,13. Marcel Brache,14. Patrick Dellit,15. Dane Haylett-Petty
Replacements : 16. Heath Tessmann,17. Tetera Faulkner ,18. Ollie Hoskins,19. Phoenix Battye,20. Brynard Stander,21. Justin Turner,22. Zack Holmes ,23. Chris Tuatara-Morrison