New-look Rebels backline to face Brumbies

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels have reshuffled their side to face the Brumbies, as they hunt for their first win of the year.

Kiwi recruit Jackson Garden-Bachop has been relegated to the bench with Jack Debreczeni moving into the key playmaking position, that he held for much of 2016.

The domino effect of that switch puts Reece Hodge at fullback, with Mitch INman and Tom English in the centres, as Sefa Naivalu returns on the wing.

Naivalu’s return is an especially handy boost, after he injured his shoulder against the Waratahs.

Lopeti Timani will start in the back row, his first start since a calf injury curtailed the start of his season and a rare cameo in the back row for the Rebels , usually preferred in the locks.

Welsh international Dom Day will be Steve Cummins's second-row partner on Saturday night.

Hugh Sinclair, one of three Shute Shield players flown down as injury cover this week, is in line to make his debut off the bench, named in the 23 as the Rebels battle a backrow injury crisis.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said he was pleased to have the experience of Timani and Naivalu back in the team ahead of just their second Australian derby this season.

“It’s always great to welcome back experience to the starting line-up but it’s particularly welcome ahead of an important Australian derby against the Brumbies,” McGahan said.

“The bye week was a timely opportunity to reset so we’ve comeback from the break and got a lot of really good work done to address some particular facets to our game and give us the best chance against a quality opposition.”

The Rebels host the Brumbies at AAMI Park on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on


IN: Hugh Sinclair, Sefa Naivalu

OUT: Jordy Reid, Sione Tuipulotu

Melbourne Rebels Team for Rd 8 v Brumbies:

1. Fereti Sa’aga

2. James Hanson

3. Laurie Weeks

4. Steve Cummins

5. Dominic Day

6. Lopeti Timani

7. Colby Fainga’a

8. Amanaki Mafi

9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain)

10. Jack Debreczeni

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Mitch Inman

13. Tom English

14. Sefa Naivalu

15. Reece Hodge


16. Siliva Siliva

17. Tom Moloney

18. Tyrel Lomax

19. Culum Retallick

20. Hugh Sinclair

21. Mick Snowden

22. Jackson Garden-Bachop

23. Ben Volavola