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Rebels make three changes for Reds match

Flanker Sean McMahon has been named in the starting line up

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Article Published: Thursday 26 June 2014|

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made three changes to the side that played the Brumbies for this weekend's Super Rugby match against the Reds at AAMI Park on Friday.

The match will be the Rebels last match in Melbourne for 2014 and McGahan has named exciting youngster Sean McMahon in the starting lineup and Jack Debreczeni for his run-on debut.

Debreczeni, who has played in the Rebels previous two matches as a replacement, recently re-signed with the Club and is part of a backline shuffle that also sees flyer Jason Woodward move to the right wing.

Rebels' Head Coach Tony McGahan was excited to unleash the youngster from the first minute against the Reds.

"Jack has been able to play effectively off the bench for the last two games, and we really want to have a good look at him starting," McGahan said.

"With Jason and Tom joining him in the back three, and Tamati and Mitch in the centres, there are plenty of good players around Jack to help him settle in. We're really excited for him; he has known for a while he was getting that opportunity so he's been able to really enjoy training without being lumped with the surprise later in the week, and I think he has appreciated that."

Following an extremely impressive campaign at the IRB Junior World Championships, Australia U20 Captain Sean McMahon returns to the starting lineup at blindside flanker, with Colby Fainga'a switching to openside.

"We kept a close eye on the IRB Junior World Championships, and were in conversation with the Australian U20 Head Coach Adrian Thompson about our players and their progress," McGahan said.

"Sean had a huge impact at the tournament, and we're really keen for him to get some more game time this week. He'll have a big impact on the carry, at the breakdown and with his tackling, and we're looking forward to him making a real statement.

"Colby moves to the seven jersey; he has been terrific playing in tandem with Scott Fuglistaller for a good period of time. There won't be a lot of difference for him moving into that jersey, and we think that he and Sean will give us a great start before Scott comes on and hopefully helps close the game out for us."

Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess also returns to the starting team, after injuring his knee against the Reds in Brisbane last month. Burgess had scored two tries prior to sustaining the injury, and will be looking for a repeat performance. In a further boost to the Rebels, fellow scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker has recovered from an ankle injury to be named as a replacement.

"Luke and Nic have both done a really good job for us this season, and this weekend Luke has the opportunity to start," McGahan said.

"Ben Meehan has done a great job for the last two games, but they come back in and we are confident in their ability to get the job done."

McGahan said his squad were raring to go after the June international break, with a good combination of players who have been on international duty and those who have been in Melbourne working hard, following a short break.

"I think everybody across the whole competition was looking for a bit of time off after a really hectic opening sixteen rounds," McGahan said.

"For us, to freshen up for both players and staff, and to plan out the last three games after a bit of a review, was very important.

"We've had some players featuring internationally for the Wallabies, Australia U20, Japan and Tonga over that period, and that's been really good to see. They've come back now and we can focus specifically for the Reds, and we are looking forward to hosting them at AAMI Park."

McGahan is keen to finish strongly in the final home game of the season, and give the Rebels members something to really cheer about.

"It is always important when playing at home to do well, and to give our members something to feel connected to," McGahan said.

"Being our last match at home for the year, what they take away from this will last for a while. We want to make sure our last home game is something that reflects the hard work that the players have been putting in, and is a performance that continues the connection between our players and members."


1. Toby Smith,2. Pat Leafa,3. Laurie Weeks,4. Cadeyrn Neville,5. Luke Jones,6. Sean McMahon,7. Colby Fainga'a,8. Scott Higginbotham (C),9. Luke Burgess,10. Bryce Hegarty,11. Tom English,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison,14. Jason Woodward,15. Jack Debreczeni *

Replacements : 16. Shota Horie,17. Cruze Ah-Nau,18. Paul Alo-Emile,19. Hugh Pyle,20. Scott Fuglistaller,21. Nic Stirzaker,22. Telusa Veainu,23. Tom Kingston

* Denotes Rebels run-on debut

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