Rebels ready to halt running of the Bulls
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Melbourne Rebels are fully focused on securing their first ever win in South Africa, when they take on the Bulls on Saturday.
The Rebels have travelled to the South African to face the Bulls on Saturday as part of a two-game tour.
The side will lock horns with Stormers in Cape Town a week later.
Despite going into the match off back-to-back losses, the Rebels are committed to turning their fortune around, eyeing off a return to the top of the Australian Conference in the Super Rugby competition.
"It’s a very important match-up this weekend," Hodge said.
"Two weeks over here in South Africa gives us a chance to get closer as a group and get our historic first win. And hopefully a second one.
"We will be doing all we can in our preparation to ensure that we’re ready to go,"
Hodge returns on Saturday after missing last weekend’s loss to the Jaguares with a hamstring complaint.
The Rebels will, however, be without scrumhalf Will Genia for the trip, after he injured his hamstring in the same game.
But junior Wallabies halfback Harrison Goddard and 27-year-old Michael Ruru are ready to step up in Genia’s absence.
"We have full confidence in both of them," Hodge said.
"They’re capable of not only handling [the] Super Rugby level, but excelling at that level.
"We’re pretty excited to see how they go,"
The Bulls sit second in the South African Conference with a 3-4 record this season; a dangerous opponent with speed to burn out wide.
"They cause some headaches for defences," Hodge said.
"We’re going to have our hands full [and] it’s up to us to really trust in our defence.
"But, in saying that, we’ve got some pretty dangerous outside backs ourselves and ones that are very good at defence as well.
"It’s going to be an exciting match,"
Known for his ‘super boot’ sending the ball into orbit, despite the aid of the African altitude, Hodge said he is happy to sit behind flyhalf Jack Debreczeni on the kicking duties.
"Jack’s been kicking great the past few weeks," Hodge said.
"We all have confidence in him…[and] there’s no reason to change it up,"