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Rebels change three for Reds clash in Brisbane

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Melbourne’s Rebels have named a Super Rugby team with three changes to play the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

Wallaby prop Tetera Faulkner and winger Marika Koroibete will make their returns from injury for the Melbourne Rebels.

Faulkner will make his first Super Rugby appearance since the win over the Brumbies in Canberra in May, while Koroibete has shaken off a back injury that saw him be a late withdrawal from last week’s match against the Waratahs.

Jermaine Ainsley – fresh from his inclusion in the Wallabies squad from the June series against Ireland – will start at tighthead.

Wallaby flanker Richard Hardwick also makes a return to the Rebels line-up via the bench; the 23-year-old in line for his first Super Rugby match since injuring his knee against the Bulls back in Round 11.

The Rebels will also celebrate a special milestone with flanker Colby Fainga’a in line to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance on Friday night. Fainga’a joined the Rebels in 2014 after 35 appearances for the Brumbies.

Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Dave Wessels said: “Our focus is to continue improving with every game. We feel like we’ve done that over the past two months, but the Reds will provide a significant challenge on Friday night.

“It’s great to have Tetera’s experience to call upon in the frontrow and he’ll be joined on the tighthead side by Jermaine (Ainsley).

“We’re pleased that Marika’s back in mix. Sefa (Naivalu) played really well last week and will play a big role again off the bench on Friday.

“100 matches at any level is fantastic achievement, but to do it in the most challenging provincial rugby tournament in the world, is a testament to quality of character and player of Colby. He makes the team walk a bit taller with his impact on-field, and we hope we can make Friday night extra special for him.

“We’re here to win games of rugby, keep building on the improvement of the two last months and to do something really special with this group of players.”

Melbourne Rebels

1. Tetera Faulkner , 2. Anaru Rangi , 3. Jermaine Ainsley , 4. Matt Philip , 5. Geoff Parling (v/capt) , 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. Jack Maddocks , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : , 16. Nathan Charles , 17. Fereti Sa’aga , 18. Sam Talakai , 19. Ross Haylett-Petty , 20. Richard Hardwick , 21. Harrison Goddard , 22. Jack Debreczeni , 23. Sefa Naivalu

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