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Rebels change three for Hurricanes

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Melbourne based Super Rugby franchise the Rebels have made three changes to their team to face Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday

Head coach Tony McGahan has named Marika Koroibete to make his Super Rugby debut along with the return of James Hanson and Mitch Inman to the starting line-up.

“There’s no bigger challenge in Super Rugby right now than the defending champions in Wellington but we’ve prepared well and the return of key players will provide somemuch-neededd experience and firepower,” McGahan.

Koroibete will make his first appearance in Rebels colours on the wing after a knee injury sidelined the Rugby League convert for the club’s pre-season trial matches, Brisbane Global Rugby Tens and opening round.

Wallaby Hanson returns to action after he missed the first game of the season against the Blues with a hip injury while Inman will partner Reece Hodge in the centres.

Nic Stirzaker will line up against the Hurricanes at scrumhalf after the captain overcome a head knock against the Blues which saw him substituted early in the first half.

“We learnt some good lessons in round one that we’ve taken away so our attention has been on fixing up those key areas at training this week or else good sides will continue to punish our mistakes,” McGahan said.

The Rebels went down in their opening game of the season 56-18 to the Blues while the Hurricanes scored 13 tries against the Sunwolves to claim an 83-17 victory in Tokyo.

This weekend’s fixture will only be the third time that the Rebels have played against the Hurricanes in Wellington after Round 14, 2012 and Round 7, 2015.

The Rebels claimed the victory in the first meeting between the two sides before the Hurricanes bounced back to win the last four consecutive matches to lead the head to head record 4-1 from five matches.

The Rebels return home after the bye to host the Chiefs in Round 4 on Friday 17 March at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Rebels

1. Cruze Ah-Nau , 2. James Hanson , 3. Laurie Weeks , 4. Steve Cummins , 5. Lopeti Timani , 6. Jordy Reid , 7. Colby Fainga’a , 8. Amanaki Mafi , 9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain) , 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop , 11. Tom English , 12. Reece Hodge , 13. Mitch Inman , 14. Marika Koroibete*^ , 15. Jack Debreczeni

Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa , 17. Tom Moloney , 18. Tyrel Lomax , 19. Culum Retallick , 20. Jake Schatz , 21. Ben Meehan , 22. Sione Tuipulotu , 23. Ben Volavola

^Super Rugby debut ,
*Rebels debut

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