Stirzaker returns to Rebels' 23

Super Rugby
by staff

Melbourne Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker is in line for his first appearance of 2016, named on the bench in the team to face the Sunwolves.

Stirzaker and former captain Scott Fuglistaller (hip) are returning from injuries off the pine, part of four changes to the overall side.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan has reshuffled the starting side as well, with Pat Leafa starting at hooker and Tamati Ellison (concussion) to start at outside centre.

Rebels rookie Sione Tuipulotu has been rewarded for his impressive debut, with a spot on the bench against the Sunwolves.

McGahan said his side was prepared for the challenge the Sunwolves would pose, after two promising opening performances.

The match will be somewhat of an unknown for the Rebels, who will be the first Australasian team to face the Sunwolves in the new expanded Japanese competition.

“We’re expecting a very passionate, fast paced and technical game from the Sunwolves on Saturday,” he said.

“For a new side, they continue to impress with their development, and we expect nothing less again this weekend, so we’re prepared for a difficult challenge in a new environment for many of the players.”

There will be some familiarity for the Melbourne players, facing off against former Rebels Shota Horie and Keita Inagaki in Tokyo.

The Rebels will be aiming to clinch only their second win outside of Australia in their history.

1. Toby Smith

2. Pat Leafa

3. Laurie Weeks

4. Luke Jones

5. Lopeti Timani

6. Jordy Reid

7. Sean McMahon (captain)

8. Adam Thomson

9. Ben Meehan

10. Jack Debreczeni

11. Tom English

12. Mitch Inman

13. Tamati Ellison

14. Dom Shipperley

15. Jonah Placid


16. James Hanson

17. Cruze Ah Nau

18. Jamie Hagan

19. Sam Jeffries

20. Scott Fuglistaller

21. Nic Stirzaker

22. Dan Hawkins

23. Sione Tuipulotu