Rebels shuffle backline for Brumbies

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:57
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have made three change to the starting line-up for their second Australian derby of the season against the Brumbies at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday.

 

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan welcomes back Sefa Naivalu from injury while the forwards have been bolstered by international experience with the return of Lopeti Timani to the starting line-up and Dom Day named for his run-on debut.

Naivalu passed a fitness test for his injured shoulder, which sidelined the wing for the Highlanders game before the bye, and will team up with compatriot Marika Koroibete on the wings for just the second time this season.

Timani will make his first start for the Rebels since Round Two after a calf injury saw the Wallaby miss the side's home games against the Chiefs and Waratahs before a return to action off the bench against the Highlanders.

Welsh international Day will make his run-on Super Rugby debut alongside Timani in the locks after his first two appearances have come off the bench against the Waratah and Highlanders.

McGahan has reshuffled the team's backline with Nic Stirzaker and Jack Debreczeni to resume their partnership at scrumhalf and flyhalf for the first time season while utility Reece Hodge will fill the vacancy at fullback, Tom English returns to the centres with Mitch Inman.

"It's always great to welcome back experience to the starting line-up, but it's particularly welcomed ahead of an important Australian derby against the Brumbies," McGahan said.

"The bye week was a timely opportunity to reset so we've comeback from the break and got a lot of really good work done to address some particular facets to our game and give us the best chance against a quality opposition."

The Rebels have named uncapped Hugh Sinclair on the reserves bench after the loose forward put his Shute Shield campaign on hold to join the club earlier this week as a short-term recruit to help cover an injury depleted squad.

Sinclair, vice-captain of Northern Suburbs, was named man of the match in last year's 28-15 grand final victory over Sydney University after the loose forward played a key role in the game-winning try.

Laurie Weeks, the only remaining foundation player with the Rebels, will celebrate his 100th Super Rugby appearance on Saturday after 23 games with the Reds before he moved south as the team's first ever signing in 2011.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Fereti Sa'aga.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ben Volavola.

Date: Saturday, April 15
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (09.45 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

@MelbourneRebels

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10