Rebels Super rugby head coach Dave Wessels has promoted Campbell Magnay into the starting line up and is the one change to the Rebels Match Day 23 to tackle the Reds at Brookvale on Friday.
Magnay’s promotion see’s Reece Hodge shift to the bench in a move designed to manage the workload of the Wallaby super boot.
“Campbell is obviously coming back from a long injury layoff and Hodgey had some injuries before the break, so it’s probably just more of a case of managing both their loads,” explained Wessels at his team announcement.
“They’ve both had a huge workload over the last couple of weeks and both will be important to us during this campaign, so we’re fortunate they’re both really good players.
“Campbell brings something a bit different to Hodgey in terms of his size and physicality and Hodgey will certainly see a fair bit of time at the back end of the game, so we need both those options.”
The Brookvale fixture will mark a home game for the Rebels, and an opportunity to atone for their Round One loss to the Brumbies in Canberra, according to the coach.
“We felt we finished the COVID period with some real cohesion as a group – we had a great win in Dunedin and obviously a good win against the Lions to finish, but that wasn’t anything like we saw on Saturday night.
“It’s been a pretty disruptive ten days for the group but what we have to do is play better on Friday night.
“I don’t think the opposition really matters to us at this point – we just want to play better as a team, and we know we can beat anyone in this comp when we play well.” One area of play that has the coach enthusiastic is the scrum, after his men good the points over the highly fancied Brumbies pack in Canberra on Saturday.
“We had four guys all starting debuts in that pack – for half the pack that was new together, I thought it was really a great achievement and certainly towards the backend of the game we had more debutants, so we were really pleased about that.
“Our scrum doesn’t get a good wrap in the media but the statistics around our scrum have been strong for a long period of time, so it’s not a part of the game where we don’t think we the ability to dominate the opposition.”
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Efitusi Ma’afu, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Trevor Hosea, 20 Esei Haangana, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Rob Leota, 23 Reece Hodge