The Rebels need to beat the Force by four points or more in order to pip the NSW Waratahs for third spot and secure a finals berth.
Anything less than that will result in the Rebels finishing fourth and enduring another year in the playoff wilderness.
The Force are winless, and they would be merely playing for pride against any other opponent this week.
But the case is different against the Rebels, who became the Force’s enemy when the two franchises were locked in a fight for survival in 2017.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 31, 2020
The axe ended up controversially falling on the Force, and the only reason why they still exist is because billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest came to their rescue.
Forrest launched Global Rapid Rugby to ensure the Force had a competition to play in, and the Perth-based franchise was only invited to join Super Rugby AU this year after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on sporting competitions around the world.
The Force have blown several match-winning positions this season, with the biggest of them all coming in the round five extra-time loss to the Rebels.
Force flyhalf Jono Lance had the chance to put his team ahead in the 77th minute, but his missed penalty gave the Rebels a lifeline, with the Melbourne-based franchise snaring the win in the opening minutes of extra-time.
The Rebels failed to make the finals in their nine completed seasons of Super Rugby, and they’re desperate to end the drought this year.
Guiding them is former Force coach Dave Wessels, who was a steadying influence and the voice of reason at the Force during their final season of Super Rugby.
The Rebels will start as hot favourites against the Force on Saturday, but they are taking nothing for granted.
– Justin Chadwick
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