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Stirzaker returns for Rebels against Sunwolves

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The Rebels have been able to include captain Nic Stirzaker and Scott Fuglistaller for their historic Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.

Stirzaker and Fuglistaller have been named on the replacements bench as Stirzaker has recovered from a shoulder reconstruction and Fugistaller has overcome a hip injury.

Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan has made two change to the run-on team with Tamati Ellison clear of concussion after missing the team’s two-point victory over the Reds last weekend and Pat Leafa starting at hooker.

“It’s been great to have Nic and Scott back, they bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the team, McGahan said.

The Rebels will become the first Australasian team to contest Asteron Life Super Rugby against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

The new side feature some familiar faces for the Rebels with former teammates Shota Horie and Keita Inagaki lining up for the new Japanese side.

Sunwolves captain Horie, who scored his new club’s first ever Super Rugby try against the Lions in the opening round, made 18 appearances for the Rebels in 2013 after becoming the first Japanese international to sign with an Australian Super Rugby club.

“We’re expecting a very passionate, fast paced and technical game from the Sunwolves on Saturday,” McGahan said.

“For a new side, they continue to impress with their development, and we expect nothing less again this weekend, so we’re prepared for a difficult challenge in a new environment for many of the players.”

Jamie Hagan has overcome his virus to return to the bench, after missing last weekend, and Sione Tuipulotu has retained his spot in the team after his impressive Super Rugby debut against the Reds.

Melbourne Rebels

1. Toby Smith , 2. Pat Leafa , 3. Laurie Weeks , 4. Luke Jones , 5. Lopeti Timani , 6. Jordy Reid , 7. Sean McMahon (captain) , 8. Adam Thomson , 9. Ben Meehan , 10. Jack Debreczeni , 11. Tom English , 12. Mitch Inman , 13. Tamati Ellison , 14. Dom Shipperley , 15. Jonah Placid

Replacements : 16. James Hanson , 17. Cruze Ah Nau , 18. Jamie Hagan , 19. Sam Jeffries , 20. Scott Fuglistaller , 21. Nic Stirzaker , 22. Dan Hawkins , 23. Stone Tuipulotu

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