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Brumbies bracing for under-fire Rebels

NZN 11/04/2017 Matt Coughlan

Brumbies back-rower Jarrad Butler is expecting the under-threat Melbourne Rebels to be desperate to prove a point in Saturday's Super Rugby showdown.

The ARU on Tuesday revised its initial timeline to decide if it will be the Rebels or the Western Force who are chopped from Super Rugby in 2018, meaning Melbourne will face the Brumbies at AAMI Park with the axe hanging over their heads.

"They'll be motivated to win regardless but I'm sure they'll want to prove some people wrong," Butler said on Tuesday.

"We know they're going to be firing."

Fire has been almost non-existent in the Rebels' performances this year.

Their attack has produced the least points in the competitions with an average of 15 in their first five matches, while the Brumbies are the competition's defensive leaders, conceding a miserly 101 in their first six matches.

But Butler is wary of a Melbourne outfit with its back to the wall.

"The Rebels have been so good when they're good," Butler said.

"When they're on they are such a tough team to play against and that's been for the last couple of years.

"We know we have a massive task on our hands."

Fullback Aidan Toua played his best game for the season in the Brumbies' 43-10 win over the Queensland Reds on Saturday night, as the Canberra-based franchise added attacking flair to defensive grind.

"I think we've finally turned the page in the way we want to attack," Toua said.

"Being able to transfer what we did on the training paddock on to the field was really good and really pleasing to see.

"I think we'lll try to carry that momentum into this training week and into the Rebels down in Melbourne."

While the Brumbies will be out to inflict maximum pain on Melbourne by making them their 11th-straight Australian scalp, there is solidarity among players at the Australian franchises.

Toua said he planned to reach out to mates at the Rebels and the Force during the week.

"We've got friends at the Rebels and the Force so we're worried for our guys over there," Toua said.

"I just hope all my mates get sorted out for whoever unfortunately gets the axe."

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