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Rebels make four changes for Southern Kings

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Melbourne Super Rugby franchise the Rebels have named a team with four changes for this Saturday’s match against the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The Rebels welcome back Colby Fainga’a, who remained in Melbourne last week for the birth of his daughter, and Marika Koroibete to the starting line-up after the winger was a late withdrawal from the Sharks game through injury.

Fainga’a inclusion is the only chance to the forwards with Rebels team coach Tony McGahan opting for the same combination of Fereti Sa’aga, Siliva Siliva and Tyrel Lomax in the front row for the second consecutive week.

After he made his first start of the season on the wing against the Sharks last week, Ben Volavola will partner Nic Stirzaker in the halves for the first time after the 26-year-old was named at fly-half with the return of Koroibete to the wing.

The reserves have also received a boost with Wallaby Toby Smith set to make his first appearance of the 2017 Super Rugby season after a hamstring injury sidelined the prop since the team’s final pre-season game against the Reds.

Along with Smith, Welsh international Dominic Day will come off the bench in his return from a back injury which kept the lock out of last week’s game against the Sharks.

Smith and Day, along with James Hanson and Laurie Weeks, will provide McGahan with plenty of international experience off the bench.

“It’s the first time in a while that we’ve been able to get some quality and experienced players back,” McGahan said.

“The bench had a big part to play last week against the Sharks and they’ll have another big game to play this week.”

The Rebels will play in Port Elizabeth for the first time in the club’s history after the Kings claimed a three-point win in the only previous meeting at AAMI Park in Melbourne in Round 9, 2013.

The Rebels have claimed six points in the last two weeks after they claimed their first win of the season against the Brumbies in Melbourne before a penalty after full-time against the Sharks in Durban secured the club’s first ever draw.

The Kings will play their fourth consecutive Australian team following their three-week tour of Australia, where they averaged 33.6 points per game against the Force, Reds and Waratahs.

Melbourne Rebels

1. Fereti Sa’aga ,2. Siliva Siliva ,3. Tyrel Lomax ,4. Culum Retallick ,5. Steve Cummins ,6. Jake Schatz ,7. Colby Fainga’a ,8. Amanaki Mafi ,9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain) ,10. Ben Volavola ,11. Marika Koroibete ,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tom English ,14. Sefa Naivalu ,15. Reece Hodge ,

Replacements: 16. James Hanson ,17. Toby Smith ,18. Laurie Weeks ,19. Dominic Day ,20. Will Miller ,21. Hugh Sinclair ,22. Mick Snowden ,23. Jackson Garden-Bachop

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