Rebels ready for Crusaders Super challenge

·2-min read

Such is the depth of the Crusaders that a raft of changes to their Super Rugby Pacific side brings little comfort to the Melbourne Rebels.

The teams will wrap up Super Round -- which has featured all sides except the Western Force and Moana Pasifika with their match postponed due to COVID-19 -- at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Brumbies square off against the Highlanders in the early game on Sunday in a match, on paper, Australia's top-ranked team should comfortably win.

The same could be said about the Crusaders against the Rebels, with the perennial champions banking six wins against two losses while Melbourne have the reverse record from eight games.

Star Crusaders fullback Will Jordan and centre David Havili are being rested while fellow internationals prop Joe Moody (knee) and lock Scott Barrett (suspended) are unavailable.

Centre Jack Goodhue will make his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ACL injury and fellow All Blacks veteran lock Sam Whitelock returns from a broken finger.

Rebels skipper Michael Wells said the depth of the Crusaders meant they were still a formidable outfit even with the changes.

"They're still going to put out a strong team - we're under no illusions that whoever rolls out on Sunday is going to be solid and it's going to be a challenge," Wells told AAP.

"The more we focus on them the more we detract from our own game so I haven't even looked at their team list to be honest.

"If we roll up and play our game we will at least be up for the challenge."

In the Super Rugby trans-Tasman competition last year the Rebels crashed to the Crusaders 52-26 but Wells said they felt a very different team this time around.

Melbourne are coming off a four-point loss to the Queensland Reds in their best performance of the season.

"It's definitely a different challenge; we saw that last year we went from the AU component into the trans-Tasman we didn't stack up well at all," the back-rower said.

"We were none from five and never really looked like competing that much.

"But we're excited this time for the challenge that it poses for a young group, and also a group that's been building."

Meanwhile, Brumbies veteran Jesse Mogg flew to Melbourne to promote Super Round but is in the casualty ward for the next six weeks with a knee injury.

He said his Canberra team had prepared well for the Highlanders, who they wouldn't take lightly despite sitting at opposite ends of the ladder.

"It's quite hard to sort of correlate against each other," he said.

"It will definitely be tough and a good test but we've had a good week of preparation ... Just watching Kiwi games, the intensity is really high so that's our focus more than anything else."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting