Rebels change five for Sharks clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made five changes in the forwards for their Super Rugby match against the Sharks in South Africa on Saturday.
Injury, suspension and an impending childbirth have forced McGahan to make changes, including uncapped Will Miller at flank, for the first of two games on South African soil.
Miller will become Rebel number 110 while hooker Siliva Siliva and back row Jake Schatz will make their first starts for the Rebels after Lopeti Timani (suspended), Dominic Day (injured) and Colby Fainga’a (impending childbirth) are unavailable.
The Rebels have named an unchanged backline with captain Nic Stirzaker and Jack Debreczeni to continue their combination while Mitch Inman and Tom English remain in the centres and Reece Hodge at fullback.
McGahan has named two uncapped players on the reserves bench with Rebels Under-20 lock Esei Haangana and Hugh Sinclair included alongside James Hanson, Laurie Weeks, Tom Moloney, Mick Snowden, Jackson Garden-Bachop and Ben Volavola.
The Rebels are hunting for the franchise’s first win on South African soil after the side has lost their 11 previous fixtures in the country.
The Sharks, coming off the bye, sit second in the Africa Two Conference with five wins from seven outings, including an 18-13 win over the Jaguares in Round Seven.
Three of the four previous meetings between the Rebels and Sharks has ended with a margin of less than a converted try.
Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Will Miller, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Fereti Sa’aga.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Tom Moloney, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ben Volavola
Date: Saturday, April 22
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 19.30 (17.30 GMT; 03.30 AUS Time Sunday, April 23)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)