Rebels to draw on depth against the Cheetahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Melbourne Rebels have been forced into another team reshuffle ahead of their match against the Cheetahs.

In good news for the Rebels, Colby Fainga’a will play his first match since round one, lining up on the bench after overcoming an elbow injury.

Fainga’a is one of five changes to the side, with four of those coming to the starting side.

Injuries to Dom Shipperley (knee) and Mitch Inman (hand) have forced two changes to the backline, with boom rookie Reece Hodge coming in at outside centre and Sefa Naivalu starting on the wing.

Hodge’s start in the cetnres nearly completes his backline complement this season, having filled fullback, wing and flyhalf roles so far.

Toby Smith will start at loosehead after being a late withdrawal from the Hurricanes match last weekend,

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said  he was confident in their young backline to perform against the South Africans.

“With Dom Shipperley and Mitch Inman unavailable for selection due to injury, we’ve been forced to make a few changes this weekend against the Cheetahs, which isn’t great for continuity, but I’m looking forward to the young backs playing well,” McGahan said.

“Our depth has been tested a few times already this year with various injuries but those players coming in have always stepped up and taken the challenge head on so I’m expecting nothing less again this weekend.”

The Rebels take on the Cheetahs on Friday night at AAMI Park, 7:45pm AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS.


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. Sefa Naivalu 

12. Tamati Ellison

13. Reece Hodge

14. Cam Crawford

15. Jonah Placid


16. Pat Leafa

17. Cruze Ah Nau

18. Jamie Hagan

19. Sam Jeffries

20. Colby Fainga'a

21. Ben Meehan

22. Kotaro Matsushima

23. Sione Tuipulotu