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Crusaders in Christchurch: Rebels set sights on ‘hardest task in our game’

By Finn Morton
Darby Lancaster of the Rebels scores a try during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Highlanders at AAMI Park, on April 13, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images) (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Rebels’ team is in as they set their sights on “the hardest task in our game.” After winning their last three matches before the bye, the Rebels will look to extend that run to four when they take on the Crusaders in Christchurch.

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While it’s true that the Crusaders are last on the Super Rugby Pacific standings with just one win from eight starts, there’s something intimating for any team that travels to Christchurch to take on the serial champions.

It’s a Super Rugby fortress for a reason, but the Melburnians will insist that they’re more than up for the fight.

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“It’s a great time for us to take on a team like the Crusaders,” Andrew Kellaway told reporters earlier this week.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
5
Draws
0
Wins
0
Average Points scored
48
14
First try wins
100%
Home team wins
60%

“Going to Christchurch and winning is the hardest task in our game currently in Super Rugby.”

Alex Mafi moves into the run-on side at hooker and will join Matt Gibbon and Sam Talakai in the front row. Tuaina Taii Tualima starts at lock once again alongside the returning Josh Canham.

The backrow trio of Josh Kemeny, Maciu Nabolakasi and Vaiolinil Ekuasi will take the field once again this week in what’s quickly becoming an area of strength for the Rebels.

Ryan Louwrens and Carter Gordon will combine once again in the halves, while coach Kevin Foote has named David Feliuai and Filipo Daugunu in the midfield.

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Darby Lancaster, who scored a blistering hat-trick last time out against the Highlanders, starts on the left wing, Lachie Anderson on the right, and of course Andrew Kellaway out the back.

This clash over the ditch in Christchurch is scheduled to get underway at 5:05 pm AEST on Friday night.

Melbourne Rebels to take on Crusaders

  1. Matt Gibbon
  2. Alex Mafi
  3. Sam Talakai
  4. Tuaina Taii Tualima
  5. Josh Canham
  6. Josh Kemeny
  7. Maciu Nabolakasi
  8. Vaiolinil Ekuasi
  9. Ryan Louwrens
  10. Carter Gordon
  11. Darby Lancaster
  12. David Feliaui
  13. Filipo Daugunu
  14. Lachie Anderson
  15. Andrew Kellaway

Replacements

  1. Jordan Uelese
  2. Isaac Kailea
  3. Taniela Tupou
  4. Rob Leota
  5. Angelo Smith
  6. Jack Maunder
  7. Matt Proctor
  8. Nick Jooste
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