Super Rugby

Harris starts at 10 for Rebels against the Force




The Rebels have named their Super Rugby team to play the Western Force at AAMI Park in Melbourne with Mike Harris starting at flyhalf.

Harris returns to flyhalf for the first time since the Rebels opening round victory over the Force in Perth as Jack Debreczeni moves to fullback.

The Rebels have also recalled Cruze Ah Nau, Luke Jones and Jordy Reid to the starting line up.

After missing last weekend’s game with back soreness, Jones returns to the run-on team while Reid has been reunited with his partner in crime Sean McMahon after being named in the backrow alongside Colby Fainga’a at No. 8.

Ah Nau’s inclusion at loosehead prop sees Toby Smith, one of four Rebels named in the 39-player Wallabies squad on Thursday, shift to tighthead.

“It’s good to have a few more players back from injury this week to make sure that we go into the international break on a positive note and give us something to chase when we get back,” Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan said.

“The Force’s size and physicality make them a serious threat in the scrum and around the breakdown so the inclusions will be a boost to our forward pack who need to be hungry and disciplined.”

“We’ve had a difficult couple of weeks and a few setbacks but we’re a group with plenty to play for so we need to back ourselves and our abilities to get the job done on Sunday,” McGahan said.

Hooker Pat Leafa returns to the reserves bench after a week out and vice-captain Scott Fuglistaller has been named as a substitute for the first time since Round 8 against the Hurricanes.

Tamati Ellison, who missed last week’s game against the Chiefs with a back injury, will be in doubt for the remainder of the season after suffering a calf injury during training mid-week.

The Rebels take on the Force for the second time this season after their first round game will be remembered for Reece Hodge’s two-try and 20-point Super Rugby debut.

The Rebels have won eight of 11 previous meetings against the Force, including a 25-19 victory in the first round at nib Stadium.

Melbourne Rebels

1. Cruze Ah Nau , 2. James Hanson , 3. Toby Smith , 4. Luke Jones , 5. Lopeti Timani , 6. Sean McMahon , 7. Jordy Reid , 8. Colby Fainga’a , 9. Nic Stirzaker (captain) , 10. Mike Harris , 11. Tom English , 12. Reece Hodge , 13. Mitch Inman , 14. Sefa Naivalu , 15. Jack Debreczeni

Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa , 17. Tom Moloney , 18. Tim Metcher , 19. Culum Retallick , 20. Adam Thomson , 21. Scott Fuglistaller , 22. Ben Meehan , 23. Jonah Placid

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