Rebels side named for Cheetahs clash

Apr 20 • General News, Super Rugby • 1161 Views • Comments Off on Rebels side named for Cheetahs clash

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The return of Colby Fainga’a from injury headlines five new inclusions in the Melbourne Rebels 23-player team for Friday night’s meeting with the Cheetahs at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

Fainga’a will make his Asteron Life Super Rugby return via the reserves bench after an elbow injury had sidelined the flanker since the Rebels’ opening round victory over the Western Force in Perth eight weeks ago.

Head Coach Tony McGahan has made four changes to the run-on side that lost to the Hurricanes last weekend with Toby Smith, returning from a concussion suffered against the Waratahs, and Jonah Placid named at Full Back for the first time since the Highlanders in Round Five.

Reece Hodge will make his first start at Outside Centre after all four of his Super Rugby appearances have come at Full Back while Sefa Nailavu, who got through his first full game since returning from a broken leg last year, and Cam Crawford swap wings.

Victorian home-grown centre Sione Tuipulotu, last week named in the Australian U20’s squad, and Japanese international Kotaro Matsushima have been recalled to the team with the pair to start on the reserve bench against the Cheetahs.

Tuipulotu has been named in the team for the first time since he made his Super Rugby debut against the Reds in Round Three while Matsushima’s only appearance for the Rebels came in Round Two against the Bulls.

“With Dom Shipperley and Mitch Inman unavailable for selection due to injury, we’ve been forced to make a few changes this weekend against the Cheetahs, which isn’t great for continuity, but I’m looking forward to the young backs playing well,” McGahan said.

“Our depth has been tested a few times already this year with various injuries but those players coming in have always stepped up and taken the challenge head on so I’m expecting nothing less again this weekend.”

The Rebels have beaten the Cheetahs once in their previous four meetings with the victory coming when the two sides last meet at AAMI Park in Round 3, 2014.

Along with the 35-14 victory, the game will be remembered for the debuts of Tamati Ellison, Sean McMahon, Toby Smith, Ben Meehan, Colby Fainga’a and Cruze Ah Nau in club colours.

The Melbourne Rebels host the Cheetahs in Round Nine of Super Rugby at AAMI Park on Friday night from 7.30pm (AEST). Tickets, from $25 for an adult, are available from Ticketek.

2016 Asteron Life Super Rugby – Round 9
Melbourne Rebels v Cheetahs
Friday 22 April 2016
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: FOX SPORTS 2 (live)
Live Updates: www.twitter.com/MelbourneRebels

1. Toby Smith
2. James Hanson
3. Laurie Weeks
4. Luke Jones
5. Lopeti Timani
6. Jordy Reid
7. Sean McMahon
8. Adam Thomson
9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain)
10. Jack Debreczeni
11. Sefa Naivalu
12. Tamati Ellison
13. Reece Hodge
14. Cam Crawford
15. Jonah Placid

Reserves
16. Pat Leafa
17. Cruze Ah Nau
18. Jamie Hagan
19. Sam Jeffries
20. Colby Fainga’a
21. Ben Meehan
22. Kotaro Matsushima
23. Sione Tuipulotu

Courtesy of the Rebels

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