Rebels bolster team with experience
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Melbourne Rebels head coach Dave Wessels has named just two changes to his starting lineup to face the Waratahs in their Round Nine Super Rugby AU blockbuster against the Waratahs in Sydney this Saturday.
Fan favourite Pone Fa’amausili makes way for Wallaby Jermaine Ainsley whilst Michael Wells slides into the XV at the expense of Josh Kemeny.
The changes see a sizeable amount of experience brought back into the run-on side with an additional 100 Super Rugby caps bolstering the Rebels pack.
“I thought Jermaine played really well against the Brumbies and then was unfortunately unavailable because of injury for the Reds,” said Wessels.
“We felt that he’s now fit and played really well against the Brumbies – probably one of the better games I’ve seen him play – so he comes back in at tighthead.
“I think Josh [Kemeny] has played really well, but he’s a young guy and we felt the experience in the back row and the work rate of Wellsy [Michael Wells] would be really good for us.”
Injured skipper Dane Haylett-Petty will have to spend another week on the sidelines, with the medical staff opting to take a cautious approach with the skipper.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt Toomua (captain), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 Efitusi Ma’afu, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Pone Fa’amaluli, 19 Michael Stolberg, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Billy Meakes. 23 Tom Pincus.
Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.15 (09.15 GMT)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Amy Perrett
TMO: James Leckie