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Super Rugby preview: Rebels host Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday
- Stormers v Cheetahs: Teams
- Bulls v Brumbies: Teams
- Blues v Sharks: Teams
- Force v Lions: Teams
- Hurricanes v Chiefs: Teams
- Sharks shut down Blues
- Waratahs race to victory
- Crusaders hold off Highlanders
- Lions win takes Force fourth
- Hurricanes hit Chiefs for six
The Waratahs have made two changes to their starting line-up for Friday's Weary Dunlop Shield battle against the Rebels.
Coach Michael Cheika has named crowd favourite Jacques Potgieter to start at lock, forcing 22-year-old Will Skelton to the bench, after an outstanding display off the bench last week.
Alofa Alofa starts on the wing after returning to full fitness following a knee injury, with Matt Carraro dropping to the bench.
Loosehead prop Benn Robinson will become NSW's equal most-capped Super Rugby player (121) alongside Al Baxter when he runs out against the Rebels.
Hooker Tatafu Polota Nau will also go down in the history books on Friday, when he becomes NSW's fifth most capped player of all time (surpassing Matt Burke on 115).
Despite stringing together back-to-back victories in the last two rounds, getting a win in Melbourne won't be easy, says Waratahs defensive coach Nathan Grey, who spent three years on the Rebels' coaching staff before joining NSW this year.
"They are always tough to beat at home and they'll have a lot of confidence highlighted by their first away win over the Reds," said Grey.
"Plus in their last home game against the competition-leading Sharks, they put themselves in a position to win. They've got good support and they'll have the crowd screaming for them."
Rebels: 15 Woodward, 14 Kingston, 13 Ellison, 12 Inman, 11 English, 10 Hegarty, 9 Meehan; 1 Smith, 2 Leafa, 3 Alo-Emile, 4 Neville, 5 JOnes, 6 Fainga'a, 7 Fuglistaller, 8 Higginbotham (capt)
Replacements: 16 Fualau, 17 Ah-Nau, 18 Lahiff, 19 Pyle, 20 McMahon, 21 Holmes, 22 Debreczeni, 23 Veainu
Waratahs: 15 Folau, 14 Alofa, 13 Ashley-Cooper, 12 Beale, 11 Horne, 10 Foley, 9 Phipps; 8 Palu. 7 Hooper, 6 Dennis, 5 Douglas, 4 Potgieter, 3 Ryan, 2 Polota-Nau, 1 Robinson
Replacements (two to be omitted): 16 Roach, 17 Tilse, 18 Kepu, 19 Skelton, 20 Hoiles, 21 McKibbin, 22 Lance, 23 Carraro, 24 McCutcheon, 25 Naiyaravoro.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com