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Four Rebels changes for Highlanders clash

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Rebels Super rugby head coach Dave Wessels has made four changes to his starting team to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Rebels are aiming for their first ever Super Rugby finals appearance so they need a good showing against the Kiwi side.

The Melbourne Rebels have made four changes to their starting XV as they aim to secure the club’s first-ever when they face the

Injuries to fullback Dane Haylett-Petty (knee) and lock Geoff Parling (shoulder) have forced positional and personnel changes from last week’s match against the Reds.

Meanwhile props Fereti Sa’aga and Sam Talakai earn starting spots in the Rebels’ forward pack in place of Tetera Faulkner and Jermaine Ainsley, who have moved to the bench.

Ross Haylett-Petty earns his first start since the Rebels’ Round 10 match against the Bulls, while Jack Maddocks shifts to fullback and Sefa Naivalu moves off the bench and onto the right wing.

Sam Jeffries and Lopeti Timani also make their returns to the 23, as the Rebels opt for a 6-2 bench split.

Captain Adam Coleman (adductor) and halfback Will Genia (arm) will spend one more week on the side lines, however reserve hooker Nathan Charles has shaken off any concussion concerns and will line up on the reserves bench.

Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Dave Wessels said: “We’ve had a good week and are looking forward to the challenge in Dunedin.

“Everyone has embraced the areas of our performance we weren’t happy with last week. It wasn’t at the standard that we set for ourselves.

“But we know that if we play with intensity we’re capable of beating any team in this comp.

“We won’t shy away from the fact this is a big game for our club and supporters in Melbourne, just like we won’t shy away from the excitement of the reward on offer.

“We set out at the start of the season to play in a way that would make the people of Melbourne proud and we really want to do that again on Saturday night.”

Melbourne Rebels

1. Fereti Sa’aga , 2. Anaru Rangi , 3. Sam Talakai , 4. Matt Philip , 5. Ross Haylett-Petty , 6. Angus Cottrell , 7. Colby Fainga’a , 8. Amanaki Mafi , 9. Michael Ruru , 10. Reece Hodge , 11. Marika Koroibete , 12. Billy Meakes , 13. Tom English ,capt.) , 14. Sefa Naivalu , 15. Jack Maddocks

Replacements : 16. Nathan Charles , 17. Tetera Faulkner , 18. Jermaine Ainsley , 19. Sam Jeffries , 20. Richard Hardwick , 21. Harrison Goddard , 22. Jack Debreczeni , 23. Lopeti Timani

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