Super Rugby: Stormers v Rebels Preview

Super Rugby 2018: Crusaders v Bulls Preview

The Stormers and Melbourne Rebels – two sides presiding over three-consecutive defeats apiece – are both in dire need of a change in fortunes, writes Shaun Goosen. 

Stormers v Rebels
27 April 15h05
DHL Newlands, Cape Town

To Win (80 Mins)
Stormers 2/9
Draw 28/1
Rebels 33/10

Stormers (-12.5) 9/10
Rebels (+12.5) 9/10

Friday’s face-off at DHL Newlands offers the Stormers a shot at putting their campaign back on track.

Robbie Fleck’s charges have been as lacklustre as ever in 2018. Three wins from nine games tells the story of a side that has once again failed to make good on any preseason promises of improvement.

So far, the Stormers’ defence has leaked 40 tries and 280 points – the second-worst record in the competition. During last week’s loss against the Sharks, they missed as many as 25 tackles in an 80-minute performance that has, again, left many questioning the Cape-based franchise’s composure in tightly-contested games.

They currently sit bottom of the South African Conference.

The Rebels, on the other hand, have been much-improved in 2018. Wins in four of their first five games led many to believe that they could be the surprise package of the season and challenge the likes of the Waratahs and Brumbies for Australian supremacy.

Unfortunately, they have been on a downward spiral in recent weeks. Since their dismal 19-50 home loss to the Hurricanes, David Wessels’ boys have slumped to second position in the Aussie Conference following further losses to the Jaguares and Bulls. They currently sit in seventh-place on the overall standings ahead of dates with the Crusaders and Brumbies in the next fortnight.

Given the unusual kick-off time of this encounter (15h05 on a Friday), it is highly unlikely that Newlands will be anywhere near its capacity. This may serve to level the playing field somewhat, but it shouldn’t prevent the hosts coming away with the goods. Theirs is a very proud side who won’t take anything for granted this week.

Verdict: Stormers (-12.5) 9/10
The Stormers will want to repay some of the faith shown to them from supporters by delivering a performance worthy of their name. The Rebels may begin to feel the effects of jetlag on Friday. Stormers by 14.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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