Rebels and Highlanders stars to miss final round clash

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels will have to make their last push for a finals spot without four of their most high-profile players.

Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty (knee) and Geoff Parling (shoulder) have been ruled out of their final regular round clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin, joining Adam Coleman (adductor) and Will Genia (arm) on the sidelines.

Genia has trained with the Rebels this week but hasn't recovered enough from a broken arm to play, while Coleman and Haylett-Petty both missed sessions this week.

Jack Maddocks replaces Haylett-Petty at fullback and Sefa Naivalu has been named to start on the right wing for the must-win match.

Ross Haylett-Petty will start for the first time since round 10, named at lock, while Lopeti Timani and Sam Jeffries both return to the 23 on the bench.

Timani has been a revelation for the Melbourne Rebels since joining in 2014. Photo: Getty ImagesRebels coach Dave Wessels has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench as the Rebels look to set the tone physically in Dunedin.

Wessels said the side had taken an honest look at its performance against the Reds and everyone was determined to improve.

 “Everyone has embraced the areas of our performance we weren't happy with last week. It wasn’t at the standard that we set for ourselves," he said.

“But we know that if we play with intensity we're capable of beating any team in this comp.

“We won’t shy away from the fact this is a big game for our club and supporters in Melbourne, just like we won’t shy away from the excitement of the reward on offer.

“We set out at the start of the season to play in a way that would make the people of Melbourne proud and we really want to do that again on Saturday night.”

The Highlanders will be resting some of their biggest names for the final round outing, with All Blacks stars Ben Smith and Aaron Smith both omitted and regular forwards Luke Whitelock and Dillon Hunt also left out.

The Rebels take on the Highlanders on Saturday in Dunedin, kicking off at 5:15pm local, 3:15pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au RADIO.   

TEAM

IN: Sam Jeffries, Lopeti Timani

OUT: Geoff Parling, Dane Haylett-Petty

Rebels to face the Highlanders

1. Fereti Sa’aga

2. Anaru Rangi

3. Sam Talakai

4. Matt Philip

5. Ross Haylett-Petty

6. Angus Cottrell

7. Colby Fainga’a

8. Amanaki Mafi

9. Michael Ruru

10. Reece Hodge 

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Billy Meakes  

13. Tom English (capt.)

14. Sefa Naivalu

15. Jack Maddocks

Reserves

16. Nathan Charles

17. Tetera Faulkner

18. Jermaine Ainsley

19. Sam Jeffries

20. Richard Hardwick

21. Harrison Goddard

22. Jack Debreczeni

23. Lopeti Timani

Highlanders to face the Rebels

1. Aki Seuili

2. Liam Coltman

3. Tyrel Lomax

4. Alex Ainley

5. Jackson Hemopo

Shannon Frizell

James Lentjes (C)

Liam Squire

Kayne Hammington

Lima Sopoaga

Tevita Li

Teihorangi Walden

Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Waisake Naholo

Josh Ioane

Reserves

Greg Pleasants-Tate

Daniel Lienert-Brown

Kalolo Tuiloma

Tom Franklin

Dillon Hunt

Josh Renton

Matt Faddes

Josh McKay