Super Rugby

Melbourne Rebels change two for Western Force




Rebels Super rugby head coach Kevin Foote has made two changes to his Starting XV ahead of the Rebels’ Round 2 Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Western Force.

The explosive Ray Nu’u has been named to make his Rebels’ starting debut, pairing with New Zealand teammate Stacey Ili at Centre, while Matt To’omua returns to No.10, with Carter Gordon chosen for late game support.

To’omua will be looking to repeat last season’s home opener heroics in which the thirty-two-year-old scored 18 points, including a stunning individual try, on the way to leading the Rebels to a memorable 33-14 win over the Waratahs.

With Saturday night marking the first time the Rebels have played at home in 287 days, Melbourne Rebels Attack Coach Ryan Martin said players were excited to perform in front of the Club’s loyal supporters once again.

“There’s a real heightened awareness about coming back to AAMI Park,” said Martin.

“Not having the ability to play there consistently the last couple of years, there’s a huge awareness around giving back to our local community to all the members and fans who’ve supported us during the tough times away these last couple of years.

“The players are really keen on delivering a performance not only they can be proud of, but one our supporters can be proud of.”

Saturday marks the 17th encounter between the two Australian rivals, with the Rebels winning 12 matches including three of the last four games.

Chasing win number 13, Melbourne enters the clash led by Cameron Orr, Cabous Eloff and Jordan Uelese up front.

In the second row, Ross Haylett-Petty and Matt Philip will partner for the second consecutive game, in what will be Philip’s first match back at AAMI Park since the Rebels’ 20-point win over the Lions on March 7, 2020.

Melbourne’s back row also remains unchanged, with both Brad Wilkin and Sam Wallis impressing during last weekend’s season opener.

Wilkin scored a try from eight runs, while first-gamer Sam Wallis recorded a team-high 15 tackles on his way to claiming Team of the Week honours.

Joe Powell and Matt To-omua will partner in the halves, while Reece Hodge will combine with Lachie Anderson and Glen Vaihu on the wings for a second-consecutive game.

James Hanson leads the front row finishers, joining 2019 Spirit of Weary Dunlop recipient Matt Gibbon, Thomas Nowlan and recent Rebels’ debutants Sef Fa’agase and Tamati Ioane.

James Tuttle, Carter Gordon and Young Tonumaipea round out the final spots for Saturday night’s home opener.

Melbourne Rebels

Cameron Orr, Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eboff, Matt Philip, Ross Haylett-Petty, Sam Wallis, Brad Wilkin, Michael Wells (c), Joe Powell, Matt To’ouma, Glen Vaihu, Raymond Nu’u, Stacey Ili, Lachie Anderson, Reece Hodge

Replacements: James Hanson, Matt Gibbon, Sef Fa’agase, Thomas Nowlan, Tamati Ioane, James Tuttle, Carter Gordon, Young Tonumaipea

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  1. Pingback: Melbourne Rebels change two for Western Force - Super Rugby Pacific - Daily Post Central

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