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
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15