To'omua gets Rebels' No.10 jersey for Crusaders clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have made seven changes to their starting XV ahead of the team’s crucial clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Headlining the changes to the side is the inclusion of Wallaby hooker Jordan Uelese, who’s earned a starting spot at hooker for the first time in 2019.
The Rebels will also field a new halfback combination for the match, with scrumhalf Michael Ruru set to partner with flyhalf Matt To’omua.
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Working and practicing on our knight moves.
— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) June 5, 2019
Melbourne will be without starting No.9 Will Genia, who will miss the trans-Tasman trip as part of the Wallabies rest policy, while Marika Koroibete will start on the bench. Quade Cooper will also begin as a replacement acknowledging his heavy workload having started in every match this season.
Sam Talakai, Angus Cottrell, Tom English and Billy Meakes will all make their return to the starting XV, while Harrison Goddard will potentially make his second appearance of 2019 after being named on the bench.
Head coach Dave Wessels says the changes within the side has created multiple opportunities for other members of the playing group, with Wessels especially coy on hooker Jordan Uelese earning his first start of the season.
“It’s nice to have Jordy back,” Wessels said.
“We’re in a position where we have three hookers playing well. I think Roachy [Hugh Roach] has played well, but he’s played a lot of minutes in the last couple of weeks, so he gets a breather and Jordy is fresh and ready to go.”
Seven changes have been made to our starting XV to face the Crusaders in Christchurch.
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— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) June 6, 2019
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Tom English, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Marika Koroibete.
Date: Saturday, June 8
Venue: Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 Melbourne time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), James Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)