Third time lucky for Rebels?
Third time lucky for Rebels?SHARE
Wallaby Scott Higginbotham, will become the third player to captain the Rebels this campaign when the embattled franchise takes on the Force in Perth this weekend.
Higginbotham has been named as Captain following the withdrawal of Gareth Delve.
Wallaby Cooper Vuna has been added to the bench following his one week suspension, while Cadeyrn Neville and former Force centre, Rory Sidey, both get an opportunity in the starting XV.
After missing last week's match, Scott Fuglistaller has returned to the starting line up at the expense of Jordy Reid, who returns to the bench following his impressive run on debut against the Cheetahs.
The Rebels have won four of the previous five encounters against the Western Force, with the highest ever margin being nine points.
Rebels Head Coach, Damien Hill, reiterated the significance of this match and the history these two sides have shared long before Super Rugby.
"The contest between these two Rugby states stems back to the Australian Rugby Shield, when the biggest battle was always between Western Australia and Victoria, while in sporting codes such as AFL there is a rich history between the two sporting states," said Hill.
"The history of this great Rugby rivalry now lives on, with both Clubs demonstrating this in their previous encounters.
"We have the advantage on the win sheet, but this match means so much for both teams.
The players feel as though they need to record a win for their city on this three match tour, while the Force were desperately unlucky against the NSW Waratahs, and the local support in Perth is very supportive of their Rugby team.
We know what derby matches can bring out in this competition," Hill added.
Coach Hill also endorsed the decision of Higginbotham as Captain for this round's match, saying the leadership role is something that will fit comfortably with the Wallaby flanker.
"Scott will bring a different level of energy to the team's on field leadership. He plays with a level of passion that will be infectious to his peers. He leads by example.
"Unfortunately Lachie Mitchell will miss the match with a cork that has not recovered fully in time, while Gareth has been carrying some mild complaints with his ribs and shoulder. They should both be available next week."
"Jordy was very good last week, and will be given more opportunities having signed with the Club until 2015. At this stage we believe Fuglistaller's experience will be required against a very well drilled Force attack.
Rebels: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Jarrod Saffy, 19 Jordy Reid, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Tom English, 22 Cooper Vuna.
Date: Saturday, April 6
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 16.40 (10.40 SA time; 8.40 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)