Rebels forced to suffle the backs

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:09
Large tony mcgahan

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Rebels coach Tony McGahan made eight changes to the matchday 23 for the penultimate round of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Rebels face the Western Force on Friday.

Scotish-native Murray Douglas will make his first Super Rugby start after being named at lock for his second Rebels appearance following his debut in Round four against the Chiefs at AAMI Park.

Prop Laurie Weeks, flyhalf Jackson Garden-Bachop and fullback Jonah Placid return to the starting line-up after the trio came off the bench against the Brumbies before the international break.

A season ending injury to wing Sefa Naivalu in the Wallabies final Test against Italy has forced McGahan to shuffle the backline with Reece Hodge to partner Mitch Inman in the centres, while Tom English has been moved to the wing and Placid to fullback for his first start 2017.

"There’s no harder Australian roadtrip than to Perth, but the players are hungry after three weeks of training to return to some competitive football on Friday and finish the remaining two games of the season on a positive note," McGahan said.

"The injury to Sefa has forced some movement across our backline but these 23 players have impressed the coaching staff over the last few weeks and deserve their opportunity to start on Friday  against the Force,"

Australian Under-20 representatives Jordan Uelese and Sione Tuipulotu return to the reserves bench, while Jack Maddocks has overcome a wrist injury that forced the rising star to miss the 2017 World U20 Championship in Georgia.

Three Victorians have been named in the team with young prop Fereti Sa’aga, fresh off signing a two-year contract extension with the club, to join Uelese and Tuipulotu on the bench for the final away game of the season.

Friday’s fixture will be the first meeting of the season between the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels.

Little has separated the two sides in the history of rivalry with 11 of the 12 previous fixtures ending in a margin of a converted try of less.

The Rebels made a clean sweep of the two fixtures last season against the Force with a 25-19 win in Perth in Round one followed by a 22-17 win in Round 14 in Melbourne.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Fereti Sa’aga, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Jack Maddocks

Date: Friday, July 7
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.45 (11.45 GMT)
Referee: William Houston (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

There are currently no matches being played
Mon, 19 February 2018
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 14h45 Port Elizabeth
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Cape Town
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 16h30 Cape Town
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 1 0 0 1 0