Rebels bring in experience for Kings

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:32
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Melbourne Rebels have regained valuable experience ahead of Saturday's game against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

The Rebels welcome back Colby Fainga'a, who remained in Melbourne last week for the birth of his daughter, and Marika Koroibete to the starting line-up, after the wing was a late withdrawal from the Sharks game through injury.

The inclusion of Fainga'a is the only chance to the forwards, with Rebels team coach Tony McGahan opting for the same combination of Fereti Sa'aga, Siliva Siliva and Tyrel Lomax in the front row for the second consecutive week.

After he made his first start of the season on the wing against the Sharks last week, Ben Volavola will partner Nic Stirzaker in the halfback combination for the first time, after the 26-year-old was named at flyhalf with the return of Koroibete to the wing.

The reserves have also received a boost, with Wallaby Toby Smith set to make his first appearance of the 2017 Super Rugby season - after a hamstring injury sidelined the prop since the team's final pre-season game against the Reds.

Along with Smith, Welsh international Dominic Day will come off the bench in his return from a back injury which kept the lock out of last week's game against the Sharks.

Smith and Day, along with James Hanson and Laurie Weeks, will provide McGahan with plenty of international experience off the bench.

"It's the first time in a while that we've been able to get some quality and experienced players back," McGahan said.

"The bench had a big part to play last week against the Sharks and they'll have another big game to play this week."

The Rebels will play in Port Elizabeth for the first time in the franchise's history after the Kings claimed a three-point win in the only previous meeting in Melbourne in Round Nine, 2013.

The Rebels have claimed six points in the last two weeks after they claimed their first win of the season against the Brumbies in Melbourne before a penalty after full-time against the Sharks in Durban secured the franchise's first ever draw.

The Kings will play their fourth consecutive Australian team following their three-week tour of Australia, where they averaged 33.6 points per game against the Force, Reds and Waratahs.

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

Date: Saturday, April 29
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.30 (17.30 GMT; 03.30, Sunday, April 30 AEST)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

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