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Genia starts for Rebels against Reds in Super Rugby opener

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Melbourne’s Rebels have named former Queensland Super Rugby title winner Will Genia in their team to play his former team the Reds at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Rebels Head Coach Dave Wessels has named 10 international Test players in his starting line-up, including nine current Wallabies and a Japanese international.

After a back injury sidelined him from pre-season trials, new recruit Will Genia will make his much-anticipated first appearance for the club after he was named at scrumhalf, alongside experienced flyhalf Jack Debreczeni.

Victorian prop Tetera Faulkner will run out in front of family and friends for the first time in a Rebels jersey next to home-grown rake Jordan Uelese, who is set to make his run on debut at Super Rugby level.

Captain Adam Coleman and Matt Philip have been paired in an international second row while Wallaby and Japanese representatives Lopeti Timani and Amanaki Mafi, have been included in the back row with Angus Cottrell.

Experienced Rebels Reece Hodge and Tom English will partner in the centres while Wallaby flyer Sefa Naivalu and young gun Jack Maddocks will start on the wings. Experienced fullback Dane Haylett-Petty completes the starting back 3.

Lock Sam Jeffries has been named as a substitute for his first Super Rugby appearance since the Rebels final round clash of the 2016 Super Rugby season against the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

Hooker Anaru Rangi, Sam Talakai, Ross Haylett-Petty, Michael Ruru and Billy Meakes are expected to make their Rebels debuts off the bench, alongside local prop Fereti Sa’aga and rising star Semisi Tupou.

Melbourne Rebels

1. Tetera Faulkner 2. Jordan Uelese 3. Jermaine Ainsley 4. Matt Philip 5. Adam Coleman (c) 6. Lopeti Timani 7. Angus Cottrell 8. Amanaki Mafi 9. Will Genia 10. Jack Debreczeni 11. Sefa Naivalu 12. Reece Hodge 13. Tom English 14. Jack Maddocks 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements :16. Anaru Rangi 17. Fereti Sa’aga 18. Sam Talakai 19. Sam Jeffries 20. Ross Haylett-Petty 21. Michael Ruru 22. Semisi Tupou 23. Billy Meakes

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