Rebels forced to suffle the backs

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:09
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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
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
Sat, 28 October 2017
Treviso v Edinburgh 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham
Saracens v London Irish 14h00 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Wasps 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Sharks v Western Province 14h00 Kings Park, Durban
Ulster v Leinster 17h15 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Cheetahs 19h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
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