Tahs aren't our bogey side say Rebels

Adrian Warren
Jack Maddocks is set to make his first start for the Waratahs

Melbourne Rebels are adamant NSW Waratahs aren't their bogey side but face the challenge of trying to neutralise an old teammate in a battle of winless Super Rugby sides.

The only teams with no points after two rounds, the Rebels and Tahs have both leaked 75 points, the most in the competition.

The Waratahs have won 15 of their 17 Super Rugby Clashes with the Rebels, including the past six and have lost just one out of seven in Melbourne back in 2013.

"I don't think they're a bogey side,"' Rebels' centre Billy Meakes said prior to Friday's match at AAMI Park.

"I think we have to recognise that in the past we probably haven't gone as well as we'd like but we've had some great battles with them.

"It's nice to face them early in the season and to face them at home.

"We're confident we can get the job done but we need to be super switched on and have a better start."

The Waratahs lost a heap of experience after last season and are still trying to find their feet under new coach Rob Penney.

"They've got a lot of new things happening there and potentially there's some opportunities because of that," Rebels' coach Dave Wessels said.

Among several changes, the Waratahs will give a run-on debut to Junior Wallabies prop Angus Bell and former Rebels back and Wallaby Jack Maddocks will make his first start for NSW.

"Mad Dog (Maddocks) is very excited to be able to get his first run-on this week, so you can see a new level of buzz around him," Waratahs fullback and vice captain Kurtley Beale said.

"He's bringing that extra little energy which is what makes him a quality player, that kind of extra X factor."

Melbourne are wary of Maddocks' match-winning capabilities but bear no hard feelings towards him despite him switching teams just three weeks before the season started."

"It won't be fiery, Jack is loved by the group here," Meakes said.

"He's a great character and I'm super happy for him as he wanted to go home and has ended up at the Tahs.

"He's an unbelievable player so we will definitely have to keep an eye on him."

Halfback Ryan Louwrens, openside flanker Richard Hardwick and outside centre Campbell Magnay have been promoted to the Rebels run-on side.

The Tahs have a bye next week and Penney agreed it was "mission critical" for his side to win their first Australian conference game this season.