Preview: Rebels vs Cheetahs

The Cheetahs will be confident of maintaining their winning record against the Rebels in Perth on Friday.

Back-to-back victories for Naka Drotské's men in Australia last year – over the Waratahs and Force – were followed with a win over the Rebels in Bloemfontein, meaning the team from Melbourne has never beaten the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs got their 2014 season off to a poor start by losing to the Lions but made history last week by beating the Bulls in Vodacom Super Rugby for the first time. Drotské has left his side unchanged as a result.

The Rebels are very much an unknown quantity this season with a new head coach in Tony McGahan and eight new faces in their match 23. Friday's squad includes 19-year-old flank Sean McMahon, Australia's youngest-ever sevens representative, who has played only a handful of 15-man games. He looks set to be a star of the future.

The Rebels impressed in pre-season (they had a bye last week), beating the Reds, Waratahs and Hurricanes.

Rebels – 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Angus Roberts, 23 Tom Kingston.

Cheetahs – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Rynard Landman, 20 Jean Cook, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Hennie Daniller.

Predictions for all Round 3 matches

VIDEO: Mark Keohane on this weekend's matches

Bet on Rebels vs Cheetahs match

Photo: Loren Battersby/Gallo Images

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