Stirzaker returns to lead Rebels

Thu, 25 May 2017 09:14
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have made five changes to the starting line-up for Saturday's clash with the undefeated Crusaders at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan welcomes back captain Nic Stirzaker, Tom English and Sefa Naivalu from injury, while Colby Fainga'a returns to the starting line-up and Lopeti Timani shifted to lock.

Stirzaker will lead the side after an ankle injury sidelined the scrumhalf for four weeks while outside centre English and wing Naivalu missed last week's game against the Waratahs.

Fainga'a will make his first start since Round 10 after a quad injury saw the flank miss the games against the Lions and Reds before a return off the bench against the Waratahs.

"We're all excited at the Rebels with the team selected this week," McGahan said. "To have robust discussions around some positions was welcomed by the coaches."

“We have let ourselves down this season in the final minutes of the first and second halves with basic skill errors and game management so we aim to eliminate those situations against the competition's leaders."

McGahan has named an unchanged front row with Toby Smith, James Hanson and Tyrel Lomax for the second consecutive week.

Reece Hodge and Jackson Garden-Bachop must complete the concussion protocols after the pair suffered head knocks against the Waratahs last weekend.

Jonah Placid has retained his spot on the reserves bench after his two-try performance against the Waratahs, his first outing since Round One, while scrumhalf Ben Meehan and centre Mitch Inman will provide impact off the bench. Hugh Sinclair returns to the line-up after the lock missed the Waratahs game.

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

Date: Saturday, May 27
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZ time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28