The Brumbies and Reds may have already secured their places in the Super Rugby AU finals, but there's still plenty to play for this weekend.
Both sides will be hunting momentum and a vital psychological edge at Suncorp Stadium, the Reds looking to roll into next week's qualifying final on the back of the victory while the Brumbies won't want to head into a week off after a loss.
There's much more at stake for the Rebels-Force match, with Melbourne needing a victory to leapfrog the Waratahs and claim the third spot in the finals. However, the Force won't make it easy, without a win so far this season, they'll be hoping to close out their first season back in the Australian rugby fold with a win.
Read on for the team lists, odds and analysis of both this weekend's fixtures.
Saturday, September 5
Rebels: Dane Haylett-Petty, Tom Pincus, Reece Hodge, Bill Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Matt Toomua (capt), James Tuttle; Isi Naisarani, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Trevor Hosea, Matt Philip, Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr.
Replacements: Efitusi Ma'afu, Cabous Eloff, Matt Gibbon, Michael Stolberg, Esei Haangana, Frank Lomani, Andrew Deegan, Lachlan Anderson.
Force: Jack McGregor, Byron Ralston, Kyle Godwin, Henry Taefu, Marcel Brache, Jono Lance, Ian Prior (c); Henry Stowers, Brynard Stander, Fergus Lee Warner, Ollie Atkins, Jeremy Thrush, Kieran Longbottom, Andrew Ready, Pek Cowan.
Replacements: Heath Tessmann, Chris Heiberg, Dominic Hardman, Johan Bardoul, Kane Koteka, Nick Frisby, Nick Jooste, Jake Strachan
Odds [tab.com.au]: Rebels $1.15 [-14.5 $1.90], Force $5.50 [+14.5 $1.90]
Verdict: Super Rugby returns to the Hunter on Saturday afternoon as the Rebels hunt a win -- by three points or more -- and a maiden playoffs berth. They have been strengthened by the return of Wallabies star and captain Dane Haylett-Petty from injury, with the in-form Reece Hodge shifting back to outside centre. They key for the Rebels in this one will be making a strong start, something they were unable to do last week against the Waratahs. They were chasing that game at Leichhardt Oval as a result, and never really settled into a true rhythm. The Force will know the longer they can frustrate the Rebels, and bring the pressure of expectation into the game, the more likely they will be to make mistakes. Fortunately Melbourne boast the cool head of Matt To'omua and the Wallabies will have greater command on this one after shifting back to fly half. Rebels by 10.
Reds: Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Jordan Petaia, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O'Connor, Tate McDermott; Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakai-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert.
Replacements: Josh Nasser, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Tuaina Taii Talima, Angus Scott-Young, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Hunter Paisami.
Brumbies: Tom Banks, Andy Muirhead, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Bayley Kuenzle, Nic White; Pete Samu, Will Miller, Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio.
Replacements: Connal McInerney, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Lachie McCaffrey, Ryan Lonergan, Len Ikitau, Solomone Kata.
Odds [tab.com.au]: Reds $1.90 [+1.5 $1.77], Brumbies $1.90 [-1.5 2.05]
Verdict: The odds say it all, this one is going to be incredibly close. Only a post-siren penalty goal saw the Brumbies home in Round 5; no doubt Fraser McReight has watched the replay of the penalty he gave away and the three points that followed many times. Refreshed after the bye, and buoyed by a huge win over the Force the week before, the Reds will again be looking to play attacking rugby; Jordan Petaia's shift to outside centre is a smart one from coach Brad Thorn, so too the inclusion of McReight from the outset. The Brumbies, meanwhile, have handed a first competition start to Nic White while Tevita Kuridrani is also back, so too hooker Folau Fainga'a. Both teams have had their issues at set-piece during the year and it may be that whichever side is able to upset their opponents lineout and scrum will go a fair way to winning this. If O'Connor is able to get decent front-foot ball and free up the likes of Petaia, Filipo Daugunu and Jock Campbell, then the Reds should just edge it at home. Reds by five.