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Rebels trio back for clash with Chiefs

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The Melbourne Rebels have named a Super Rugby team with three changes for this Saturday’s match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Rebels have been boosted by the return of Tom English, Mitch Inman and Sam Jeffries who all come into the starting line up.

In addition Culum Retallick, Jonah Placid and Siliva Siliva have been named on the reserves bench for the game at Waikato Stadium.

English and Inman return to the starting team for the first time since injuries sidelined the pair since Round 5 and Round 6, respectively.

English, who came off the bench last weekend in his first appearance since a knee injury to the Highlanders, replaces Cam Crawford on the left-wing while Ellison makes way for Inman at outside centre.

Jeffries will make his second start of the season after getting the nod at lock for Luke Jones, who failed to overcome a back injury suffered in the eight-point loss to the Brumbies last weekend.

“We gave the players every opportunity to prove their fitness but unfortunately a few knocks from last weekend have forced our hand for Saturday,” Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan said.

“The injuries have given Tom, Mitch and Sam the opportunity to come back into the starting line up and they’re all eager to do well and push their cases for the business end of the season.”

Siliva, a former Endeavour Hills junior, has been named in his first Rebels team since returning home from four seasons with the Brumbies after Pat Leafa injured his back at training on Thursday.

Despite the Chiefs holding a 3-1 head to head advantage going into Saturday’s game, little has separated the two sides in their previous meetings.

Less than a converted try has been the difference in their last three games, including the Rebels only victory over the Chiefs when the two sides last played in Round 12 at AAMI Park in 2015.

“The Chiefs are one of the toughest challenges in Super Rugby, they’ve built a successful game around a dangerous counter attack, so we’re looking forward to the contest,” McGahan said.

Rebels

1. Toby Smith, 2. James Hanson, 3. Jamie Hagan, 4. Sam Jeffries, 5. Lopeti Timani , 6. Colby Fainga’a, 7. Sean McMahon, 8. Adam Thomson, 9. Nic Stirzaker (captain), 10. Jack Debreczeni, 11. Tom English , 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Mitch Inman, 14. Sefa Naivalu, 15. Mike Harris

Replacements : 16. Siliva Siliva , 17. Cruze Ah Nau, 18. Tim Metcher, 19. Culum Retallick, 20. Jordy Reid, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Jonah Placid, 23. Kotaro Matsushima

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