Rebels gunning for Super Rugby success - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels gunning for Super Rugby success

Melissa Woods 02/06/2011 01:11:30 PM Comments (0)

The Melbourne Rebels hope to use a win over the Stormers on Friday night to launch an ambitious plan to snare third place on the Australian conference Super Rugby ladder.

While they are out of the running for the finals, the Rebels are eyeing a big final three rounds of their inaugural season, aiming to finish ahead of the Western Force and the disappointing Brumbies.

They play both teams in their remaining games, after edging them in earlier meetings this season.

However their biggest challenge will come on Friday night against the Springbok-laden Stormers from Cape Town, who top the South African conference with only three losses for the season.

The AAMI Park match will be a momentous one for former Wallabies hooker Adam Freier, who has been named on the bench after more than a year out of top level rugby following a back operation and then a hamstring injury.

Freier, 31, said he had doubts through the season he would get to don the Rebels' jersey.

"It has been a really tough road," said Freier, who had played with the Unicorns in the Melbourne rugby competition as part of his comeback.

"The thought of missing the whole season was the most devastating thing when I had a separate (hamstring) injury. That was my worst fear."

He is hoping for at least 20 minutes at AAMI Park, behind starting hooker Kiwi Ged Robinson, who has been a revelation this season and has recently signed a contract extension.

Freier said while the side had an eye on their quest for third place, they were focused on the Stormers.

"We know how the math is looking but we just have to take it week by week."

The Rebels' desire to leapfrog their Australian rivals has been helped by Stormers coach Allister Coetzee resting some key players.

Form lock Andries Bekker is out, with Anton van Zyl to make his first start, hooker Deon Fourie has also been spared, while regular five-eighth Peter Grant is out injured.

Kurt Coleman is at No.10, while Ricky Januarie starts at halfback in place of the injured Dewaldt Duvenage.

But they still present a formidable line-up.

"They are on paper and on the table the best team in the competition as far as the South African conference goes," Freier said.

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