Melbourne Super Rugby franchise the Rebels have made two changes to their team to play the Bulls Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Steve Cummins and Jack Debreczeni come into the Rebels starting XV after Mike Harris and Colby Fainga’a suffered injuries in the opening round.
Cummins, who was introduced off the reserve bench midway through the second half last weekend, earns a call up to the run-on team while Debrezceni returns from a virus which sidelined him in the first round.
After being a late pre-game withdrawal against the Force, Debreczeni has proven his fitness and returns to the Rebels starting line-up while Reece Hodge, who scored 20 points in his Super Rugby debut last weekend, gets the nod at fullback.,
“We’re disappointed for Mike and Colby,” Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan said.
“The pairs’ experience will be missed but we’re confident in the club’s depth and the opportunity provides another player the chance to step forward and put their hand up for selection.”
Blind-side flanker Sean McMahon will again lead the Rebels against the Bulls in the absence of captain Nic Strizaker, who continues his recovery from a shoulder operation.
Lopeti Timani has moved from lock to number eight for the second game of the season while Adam Thomson, who scored in his Rebels debut last weekend, will start as the blindside flanker.
Jordy Reid has been named a reserve, along with Pat Leafa, Cruze Ah-Nau, Jamie Hagan, Jonah Placid, Sam Jeffries, Mick Snowden and Dan Hawkins, who came off the bench to make his Super Rugby debut against the Force.
The Rebels are looking to break the club’s South African hoodoo after remaining winless from ten previous matches, including two at Loftus Versfeld against the Bulls, and record back-to-back wins to start their season for the first time.
“We’ve got another physical test this weekend and aren’t underestimating the immense challenge we face in playing the Bulls in Pretoria – one of the hardest trips in Super Rugby.”
1. Toby Smith, 2. James Hanson, 3. Laurie Weeks, 4. Luke Jones, 5. Steve Cummins, 6. Adam Thomson, 7. Sean McMahon (captain), 8. Lopeti Timani, 9. Ben Meehan, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 11. Tom English, 12. Mitch Inman, 13. Tamati Ellison, 14. Dom Shipperley, 15. Reece Hodge
Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa, 17. Cruze Ah Nau, 18. Jamie Hagan, 19. Sam Jeffries, 20. Jordy Reid, 21. Mick Snowden, 22. Jonah Placid, 23. Dan Hawkins.