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Rebels name team to play Sharks in Ballarat

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Rebels Super rugby head coach Dave Wessels has named his team to play the Sharks in Ballarat in a match that will make Super rugby history.

The match will be the first ever regional game of Super Rugby in Australia in the competitions’s twenty-five year history.

The clash also marks the first time the club has played a home game away from AAMI Park in its ten years of existence as Elton John has booked the use of the Melbourne stadium on Saturday.

The Rebel’s connection to Ballarat runs deep, with the mining town inspiring the clubs name, logo and creed.

But the celebrations don’t just stop there, with Jermaine Ainsley and Billy Meakes set to bring up their 50th Super Rugby games.

Ainsley, signed with Melbourne in 2018, will make his second start of this season, replacing Ruan Smith at tight-head prop.

He will be joined in the front row by newly re-signed prop Matt Gibbon and Steve Misa who will be making his run-on debut at hooker.

Meanwhile it’s a big weekend for beloved Rebel Billy Meakes, who plays his 50th Super Rugby club game on Saturday, before celebrating his 28th birthday on Sunday.

Matt To’omua and Reece Hodge have both succumbed to groin complaints and will miss the fixture, paving the way for flatmates Andrew Deegan and Andrew Kellaway to slide into the starting XV.

Kellaway scored two tries in the second half during last Friday’s win over the Waratahs and is the clubs leading try scorer with three in 2020.

Meanwhile, Andrew Deegan comes in for Matt To’omua, marking his first start in Super Rugby.

His selection follows an impressive 2019 campaign with the Western Force in the National Rugby Championship, where the twenty-four-year-old led the competition in points, assists and conversions.

Tom English will also make his first appearance in the navy blue for 2020, named to start off the bench.

The club stalwart could potentially bring up his 95th cap in Ballarat; drawing him ever closer to becoming the first Rebel to appear 100 times for the Rebels in Super Rugby.

Rebels

15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Steven Misa, 1 Matt Gibbon

Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tom English

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