Rebels get a Wallaby boost
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Australia flank Sean McMahon has returned for the Melbourne Rebels' historic first game against the Jaguares at AAMI Park on Friday.
Besides McMahon's returns, Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made an additional change to the starting line-up, which is the return of fullback Jack Maddocks.
McMahon missed the game against the Brumbies before the four-week international break and the side’s return against the Force last weekend after he suffered a wrist injury against the Crusaders in Round 14.
The Rebels have named an unchanged front row with James Hanson, Laurie Weeks and Toby Smith, who will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the club.
Maddocks will make his third Super Rugby start after McGahan promoted the rising star to the run-on team following the 20-year-old’s return from injury off the bench against the Force in Perth last weekend.
The arm injury against the Waratahs in Round 13 sidelined Maddocks for the 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Georgia.
"Sean’s return is timely to provide added physically up front against a very strong and powerful Jaguares forward pack," McGahan said.
"The Jaguares have been impressive in their second season, including a dominant performance in their first outing on Australian soil last weekend against the Waratahs, but we’re hungry to finish the season on a positive note and send off some key players with a win,"
Australian U20 back Semisi Tupou is set to make his Super Rugby debut after he was named on an extended reserves bench for the first time in his career.
The inclusion caps off a big year for Tupou who played a key role for the Rebels U20 and appeared in all five games of Australia’s 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship campaign, including three starts in the green and gold.
The Rebels will wrap up their 2017 Super Rugby season on Friday night at home against the Jaguares.
The Argentinians sit third on the Africa 2 Conference with six wins from 14 matches, including a comprehensive 40-27 win over the Waratahs in Sydney last weekend.
Rebels stalwart Mitch Inman is set to line up for his 100th Super Rugby game in his last outing for the club before his move to France during the off-season, along with scrumhalf Ben Meehan who heads to England.
Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 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 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Fereti Sa’aga, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Semisi Tupou/Jonah Placid
Date: Friday, July 14
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.30 (09.30 GMT, 6.30 ART)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy (Australia) , James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)