Life is about to get very exciting with the start of the Super XV Season. We are in for 6 months of high impact, nerve-wracking rugby, and we cannot wait. This weekend serves as an appetizer for the Vodacom Bulls supporters as we get insight into the Australian competitors and leads into the much-anticipated start against the Stormers next weekend, when things truly begin to heat up. Everyone will be keeping their eyes on team selections, match previews and off course the match odds.
Today the Rebels face the Force in Melbourne and both sides will be eager to get off to winning starts in front of the millions of watching rugby fans who've been starved of the fast paced, dry pitch Southern Hemisphere rugby in recent months. For the Rebels, 2012 was a year where they took a step forward, despite still finishing 3rd from bottom in the table. The win over the Crusaders was a gutsy, impressive performance, and they were certainly not the pushovers all season that many expected them to be. They were edged by the Hurricanes 45-42 in their most recent warm-up match, and some eye-catching performances from a few key players such as Kurtley Beale suggests this side should be ready for the threat of the Force on Friday. Gareth Delve will captain the side and he looks a decent, dependable choice based on some performances last season were he led from the front on countless occasions.
Saturday Brumbies take on the Reds in Canberra where the home side have been chalked up as slight favourites to take the win. Jake White's Brumbies were the surprise package last season, with his young side producing some superb rugby at times, only to falter in the final round match to narrowly miss out on qualifying for the play-offs. The emergence of some quality players such as Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight and Michael Hooper meant the Brumbies caught several sides a bit cold last season, however the surprise factor is perhaps now gone for the Canberra based side and they'll be eager to try and ensure they progress this season and don't lose ground on their main rivals for the Australian conference, the Reds and Waratahs. The Reds have had the upper-hand in exchanges between the 2 sides in recent years, winning 3 of the last 4 including two wins in Canberra their last 2 visits. However overall the Brumbies have owned this fixture and have lost just 4 times in 20 Super Rugby games between the 2 sides.
There is no doubt that both games will be watched in anticipation as we get the season started.
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