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Rebels change four for Chiefs

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Melbourne Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has named his team for the fourth round clash against the Chiefs at AAMI Park on Friday.

 McGahan has made four changes to the starting line-up from the side that went down to the Hurricanes with local home-grown prop Fereti Sa’aga handed his Super Rugby run-on debut, Culum Retallick promoted to lock and the return of Sefa Naivalu and Laurie Weeks from injury.

Naivalu, who was sidelined for the first two games of the season with a leg infection, will partner childhood friend Marika Koroibete on the Rebels wings for the first time while Weeks returns from a cork.

The 22-year-old Sa’aga will make his first start after he impressed in his Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in the second round when he came off the bench for the final ten minutes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Injury to Lopeti Timani (knee) will see Retallick make his first start of the 2017 season and Tom English shifted back to the midfield after a head knock to Mitch Inman.

Harlequin’s Murray Douglas is set to make his Super Rugby debut after McGahan named the uncapped the lock on the reserves bench, alongside hooker Pat Leafa who is set to make his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the Rebels.

The last time the two sides met at AAMI Park, the Rebels claimed their only victory over the Chiefs in five previous fixtures with a thrilling one-point victory in 2015.

The Rebels will play a New Zealand franchise for the third consecutive week. It’s just the second time in the club’s history that the Rebels have played three Tasman rivals in as many weeks since they played the Crusaders, Chiefs and Blues in Round 11-13 in 2013.
 
Melbourne Rebels

1. Fereti Sa’aga , 2. James Hanson3. Laurie Weeks, 4. Culum Retallick ,5. Steve Cummins ,6. Jordy Reid ,7. Colby Fainga’a ,8. Amanaki Mafi ,9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain) ,10. Jackson Garden-Bachop ,
11. Marika Koroibete ,12. Reece Hodge ,13. Tom English ,14. Sefa Naivalu ,15. Jack Debreczeni ,

Reserves:16. Pat Leafa ,17. Cruze Ah-Nau ,18. Tyrel Lomax ,19. Murray Douglas^* ,20. Jake Schatz ,21. Ben Meehan ,22. Sione Tuipulotu ,23. Ben Volavola ,

^Super Rugby debut
*Rebels debut

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