The Melbourne Rebels have named a 27-man squad to play Samoa in their Super Rugby pre-season match on Wednesday with Sean McMahon as captain.
The match at AAMI Park will be the Rebels final pre-season trial match before they begin their Super Rugby season against the Western Force in Perth.
Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan has included MacMahon, Tamati Ellison in the squad.
“We expect nothing less than a big, fast and powerful Samoan team to provide us a real physical test heading into the start of the season,” McGahan said.
“The trial against Samoa gives us an important opportunity to give competitive minutes to those players returning from stints on the sideline and a chance to put into practice our learnings from the Blues trial.”
The inclusion of Timani, McMahon and Thomson will bolster the Rebels forward pack while Ellison’s return to outside centre adds more than 100 games of Super Rugby experience to the backs.
Thomson, an 83-game Super Rugby veteran and Rugby World Cup winner with the All Blacks, will make his first appearance in Rebels colours after moving to Melbourne.
Cruze Ah Nau, Ryan Cocker, Steve Cummins, Colby Fainga’a, Scott Fuglistaller, James Hanson, Luke Jones, Pat Leafa, Sean McMahon (captain), Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Adam Thomson, Lopeti Timani, Laurie Weeks.
Jack Debreczeni, Tamati Ellison, Tom English, Mike Harris, Dan Hawkins, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Dom Shipperley, Mick Snowden.