Stirzaker to make first 2016 start

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Melbourne Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker will lead his side out for the first time in 2016, as they fight for second spot in the Australian conference.

Stirzaker missed the opening three rounds of Super Rugby as he recovered from a shoulder reconstruction and came off the bench the past fortnight, before being given the all clear to captain the side for the first time.

Boom rookie Sefa Naivalu comes into the side for the first time this year, after a serious leg injury at the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

In other changes to the starting XV, Reece Hodge returns to fullback for the injured Jonah Placid and Cam Crawford will start on the right wing against his former side for Tom English.

While injuries struck the Rebels last week, head coach Tony McGahan is looking forward to seeing the impact of the newcomers.

“It will be great to have Nic’s leadership and experience from the start in this Australian derby against the Waratahs, while Reece will inject his speed and enthusiasm, and a boot to match, at fullback,” he said.

McGahan will be looking for an improved effort against the Tahs after a disappointing loss to the Highlanders last weekend.

“Some of our game got exposed against the Highlanders but we come away having learnt some valuable lessons so we’ve picked ourselves up, rolled up the sleeves at training this week and continued to get better, McGahan said.

“There’s no doubting the Waratahs’ credentials, they possess a quality team that won them a Super Rugby title two years ago so we’re expecting nothing less than a hotly contested Australian derby on Sunday.”

The Rebels take on the Waratahs on Sunday at 4:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.


1. Toby Smith

2. James Hanson

3. Laurie Weeks

4. Luke Jones

5. Lopeti Timani

6. Jordy Reid

7. Sean McMahon

8. Adam Thomson

9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain)

10. Jack Debreczeni

11. Cam Crawford

12. Mitch Inman

13. Tamati Ellison

14. Dom Shipperley

15. Reece Hodge


16. Pat Leafa

17. Cruze Ah Nau

18. Jamie Hagan

19. Sam Jeffries

20. Scott Fuglistaller

21. Ben Meehan

22. Dan Hawkins

23. Sefa Naivalu