Rebels receive timely boost for crunch Super Rugby clash

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels fullback Mike Harris will finally return to the Melbourne 15 jersey, just in time for the side's critical clash with the Brumbies.

Harris has only played one match this season, with a quad injury against the Force in round one keeping him out for the next nine weeks, and is one of three changes to the Rebels' starting XV.

Melbourne will also welcome back Lopeti Timani (quad) after the second rower missed the side's clash with the Blues a fortnight ago.

Colby Fainga'a will make his first run-on start since injuring his elbow in round one, at blindside flanker, after two impressive performances off the bench.

Jordy Reid shifts to the pine for the clash with Fainga'a's move to the starting team.

Tom English will return to the Rebels bench. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyWinger Tom English is another welcome inclusion for the Rebels, returning from a knee injury that was initially feared to be a long-term issue after six weeks out.

English's inclusion on the bench gives him three matches to propel back into the Wallabies frame ahead of next month's Test series against England

The Rebels' changes are incredibly timely as they prepare for a match that could determine not only the Australian conference winner but the country's only Super Rugby finalist.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said the Rebels would need all of the experience in their side to overcome the Brumbies.

“We’ll be calling on all our experience on Friday night against the Brumbies so it’s great to welcome back Colby, Mike and Lopeti back in the starting 15,” Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan said.

“It’s exciting for the club to still be in the conversation at this point of the season but we’re under no illusion about the importance of this game so we need to back ourselves and our abilities for this opportunity.”

The Rebels won the last match between the two teams, their first win in Canberra.

Team

1. Toby Smith

2. James Hanson

3. Jamie Hagan

4. Luke Jones

5. Lopeti Timani

6. Colby Fainga'a

7. Sean McMahon

8. Adam Thomson

9. Nic Stirzaker (captain)

10. Jack Debreczeni

11. Cam Crawford

12. Reece Hodge

13. Tamati Ellison

14. Sefa Naivalu

15. Mike Harris

Reserves

16. Pat Leafa

17. Cruze Ah Nau

18. Tim Metcher

19. Sam Jeffries

20. Jordy Reid

21. Ben Meehan

22. Tom English

23. Kotaro Matsushima

 

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