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Rebels taking plenty of confidence into Blues clash

Wed, 04/05/2022, 3:40 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
After a thrilling Round 11 encounter, the Melbourne Rebels and Moana Pasifika came together for a formal thanksgiving to celebrate their battle on field. Rob Leota and Pone Fa'amausili presented Sekope Kepu and Christian Leali’ifano with the Club's first ever Pasifika Jersey as a showing of gratitude for being such crucial inspirations for the Victorian community as Pasifika athletes and role models for the younger generation.

Rebels prop Matt Gibbon believes the club can draw off the recent success of the Australian sides as they look to cause a major upset on Friday against the Blues at Eden Park.

The Rebels were one of three Australian teams to win over the weekend, surviving a late scare to hold out Moana Pasifika.

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This came just hours after the Waratahs upset Super Rugby heavyweights the Crusaders, with the Brumbies rounding out the positive weekend with a win over the Hurricanes.

With this in mind, Gibbon and the Rebels will embrace the opportunity to face the different styles of Rugby the Kiwis offer up, knowing they can match it with them at their best.

“The confidence we’re getting out of seeing other teams beating them and us beating Moana, we’re seeing that we can actually go and match it (with the Kiwi sides),” he told reporters.

“There are a lot of things they are doing that we did against the Australian sides and if that’s how they are going to play against them, there are certain things we like doing attacking and defensive-wise that we’re seeing will have good outcomes against the Kiwis.

“They love moving that ball move. In Australia, we love carrying off nines but they love getting it out wide, using their big outside centres and wingers to take it down the field whereas we are used to defending off one, two and three with big boys running at you. With the Kiwi teams, you have be ready to spread out, move side to side rather than getting straight to the middle.

“I’m really excited to see what happens this weekend.”

The Rebels will travel to Eden Park for the first time since 2018, with a double to Bill Meakes securing a 20-10 victory.

To replicate this effort, Gibbon pointed to the set-piece battle as crucial to their chances, with the club currently sitting in the top five for ruck and lineout success.

“The big thing with the Blues is they are extremely good at set-piece” he added.

“They build a lot of their attack off it through (the) scrum, line out but I feel like our set-piece is going really good, especially our maul. I really want to see how we go against them rather than them coming at us.

“I feel like this weekend if we can get over them in the scrum and line out, I feel like we’ll have a good shot at them."

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