Hurricanes coach Jason Holland believes the Rebels may not have had the results in 2022, but they are clicking now and will be a threat against the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby Pacific game in Wellington on Saturday.
"They've got a good team on paper. I admire the way they tried to play against the Chiefs. They weren't too careful, which I quite like there was a lot of risk in how they played and they got some reward for that," he said.
But it was all about the Hurricanes playing their game because, if they don't, they will be under the pump.
Hooker Dane Coles is making his first start, and that was where he wanted to be, Holland said.
He and Asafo Aumua were both playing well, but they feel this week was the right time to have Coles starting.
"He's fizzing, there's no drama with his body and he's good to go," he said.
The choice of openside flank specialists Du'Plessis Kirifi and Blake Gibson on the flanks was something he was looking forward.
Kirifi was good on the ball and with his chop tackle, while Gibson was abrasive and into everything.
"We're quite excited about the combo," he said.
Aidan Morgan has a third consecutive start. He learned well and had fitted in well to the style the Hurricanes wanted to play.
"He's a threat, but he's understanding the game well now," Holland said.
Holland said the Hurricanes' decision to start Jordie Barrett at second five-eighths for the fifth time this season had nothing to do with interest from the All Blacks' selectors.
There had been no communications from the All Blacks about Barrett, he said.
"We think the best thing for the Hurricanes is for Jordie to be playing at 12, at the moment.
"He gives us something different at 12 around go-forward both sides of the ball.
"That's what we think, and Jordie is well on board with that.
"We've got some pretty good bodies in the back three, and also if Jordie is not there, we've got some good centres as well," he said.
While the prospect of a home playoffs game was what all teams wanted, the Hurricanes are dependent on winning, and having other results go their way.
"It's not just in our control now. The Chiefs have to drop one to get there, but we've got to get the job done against the Rebels this week, and we'll have to get the job done against the Force, and we'll take whatever comes.
"But you obviously want to play at home, and we've just got to make sure we do what we can control, so if something happens we've got that opportunity," he said.