Rebels hoping for lucky Leichhardt return | Ralph-Lauren

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Melbourne are banking on recent success over the Highlanders and a venue switch to their home away from home to help them crack a Super Rugby Trans-Tasman victory on Sunday.

The Rebels’ round-three match against the Highlanders was this week relocated from Queenstown to Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval, with the team unable to travel to New Zealand because of a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

Forced to play interstate last year, Melbourne won two of their three games played at the ground, which is home to the NRL’s West Tigers.

Rebels winger Lachie Anderson, who is making his first start of the Trans-Tasman competition after recovering from syndesmosis, said the squad was feeling upbeat despite two heavy losses to open the competition.

He said they had adapted well to the uncertainty of the COVID situation.

“We’ve been here before where we’ve been shipped out of Victoria and a lot of boys have families at home that they’re missing and that adds its challenges,” Anderson told AAP.

“As a squad we’re confident in what we’re doing and trying to achieve.

“We have struggled with consistency but we’re quietly confident heading into the Highlanders; having it played in Sydney is probably an advantage for us.

“We’re familiar with the travel and are familiar with the ground and we’ll probably get some warmer conditions than was predicted in Queenstown which was about five degrees and rain.”

They have also beaten the Highlanders in their past two meetings – in Melbourne and then a rare win on New Zealand soil – and feel they match up well.

“We’ve spoken about that,” Anderson said.

“We have the belief and we know we’ve got the players and the game plan to match up to these teams but we have to do it for 80 minutes.

“If we can do that I think we will get the result this weekend.”

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