Rebels unleash Koroibete on Hurricanes

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 07:11
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have welcomed back experience for the second round of the 2017 Super Rugby season against the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made three changes to the team with Marika Koroibete set for his Super Rugby debut, along with the return of James Hanson and Mitch Inman to the starting line-up.

"There's no bigger challenge in Super Rugby right now than the defending champions in Wellington, but we've prepared well and the return of key players will provide some much-needed experience and firepower," McGahan

Koroibete will make his first appearance in Rebels colours on the wing after a knee injury sidelined the Rugby League convert for the team's pre-season trial matches, Brisbane Global Rugby Tens and opening round.

Wallaby Hanson returns to action after he missed the first game of the season against the Blues with a hip and leg injury, respectively, while Inman will partner Reece Hodge in the centres.

Nic Stirzaker will line up against the Hurricanes at scrumhalf after the captain overcome a head knock against the Blues which saw him substituted early in the first half.

"We learnt some good lessons in Round One that we've taken away so our attention has been on fixing up those key areas at training this week or else good sides will continue to punish our mistakes," McGahan said.

The Rebels went down in their opening game of the season 18-56 to the Blues while the Hurricanes scored 13 tries against the Sunwolves to claim an 83-17 victory in Tokyo.

This weekend's fixture will only be the third time that the Rebels have played against the Hurricanes in Wellington after Round 14, 2012 and Round Seven, 2015.

The Rebels claimed the victory in the first meeting between the two sides before the Hurricanes bounced back to win the last four consecutive matches to lead the head to head record four-one from five matches.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23. Ben Volavola.

Date: Saturday, March 4
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 AEDT, 04.15 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
Crusaders v Hurricanes 07h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23