Rebels go with continuity for Sunwolves clash

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 06:59
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have made two changes to the matchday-23 for Saturday's game against the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Head coach Dave Wessels has retained the same starting line-up from last weekend's 45-19 victory over the Queensland Reds in the season opener at AAMI Park.

Wessels has made two changes to the reserves with former England international lock Geoff Parling and experienced Rebels flank Colby Fainga'a selected on the bench.

Parling replaces Sam Jeffries in the matchday-23 after Jeffries had to undergo a minor scope to his knee earlier in the week – which is expected to keep him out of action for three weeks.

Captain Adam Coleman will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance on Saturday against the Sunwolves after one appearance for the Waratahs (2013), 47 games for the Western Force (2014-2017) and his debut for the Rebels last weekend against the Reds.

The Rebels and Sunwolves will play for the Ganbatte Trophy on Saturday.

The perpetual trophy, introduced between the two sides when the sides first met in 2016, will be on the line for just the second time when the Rebels take on the Sunwolves.

The Rebels will defend the Ganbette Trophy for the first time after they became the inaugural holders courtesy of a 35-9 victory in Round Four, 2016.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner. 
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Fereti Sa'aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Colby Fainga'a, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Billy Meakes.

Date: Saturday, March 3
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 13.15 (15.15 AEDT; 06.15 GMT)
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
Crusaders v Hurricanes 07h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
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Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
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Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
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Team P W D L Pts
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Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23