Banished Reds to square off in Brumbies-Rebels trial

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Transplanted Reds Quade Cooper and James Slipper will square off in Canberra on Saturday after the star pair were both picked to play in the first Super Rugby trial of 2019.

Cooper will take control of Melbourne's attack for the very first time at Viking Park but will be without playmaking partner Will Genia, the star Wallabies halfback enjoying some well deserved rest.

Luke Jones, Billy Meakes and Angus Cottrell are the other big names selected by coach Dave Wessels for the trial but there are plenty of stars set to line up for the Brumbies.

Slipper will start at loosehead prop, Rob Valetini will be rolled out at blindside flanker, Joe Powell will steer the team from halfback and Tevita Kuridrani will make his return to rugby at outside centre.

Brumbies fans will also get their first glimpse of flyer Toni Pulu, while rugby league convert Tom Wright will make his first appearance for the club from the pine.

Both players will push a revamped Melbourne defence which shapes as a key focus for coach Dave Wessels this weekend.

"To be honest I just want to see the guys in competition, in live fire situations," Wessels said.

When it’s real and the opposition are real and the pressures of the game are real that sometimes brings different things out in people.

"I want people to stand up and back up what they talk about, what they say.

"We still have three weeks to go until our first game so there are parts of our game that I know are not ready to go yet.

"General play attack, general play defence, some of our kicking stuff, that’s the real stuff that we want to try to be good at this week.

"We’re looking forward to it."

The Brumbies host the Rebels at Viking Park on Saturday, kicking off 6:30pm AEDT. Entry is free.

TEAM

Brumbies team to face the Rebels

1. James Slipper

2. Josh Mann-Rea

3. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin

4. Darcy Swain

5. Blake Enever

6. Rob Valetini

7. Tom Cusack

8. Lachlan McCaffrey

9. Joe Powell

10. Wharenui Hawera

11. Lausii Taliauli

12. Irae Simone

13. Tevita Kuridrani

14. Toni Pulu

15. Jordan Jackson-Hope

RESERVES

Forwards

Jahrome Brown, Sam Carter, Murray Douglas, Vunipola Fifita, Connal McInerney, Lachlan Osborne, Tom Ross, Angus Wagner

Backs

Mack Hansen, Len Ikitau, Bayley Kuenzle, Ryan Lonergan, Noah Lolesio, Matt Lucas, Andy Muirhead Chance Peni, Tom Wright

SQUAD

Rebels squad to face the Brumbies

Cameron Betham

Rhys Brodie

Quade Cooper

Angus Cottrell

Mees Erasmus

Pone Fa'amasuli

Matthew Gibbon

Harrison Goddard

Esei Haangana

Richard Hardwick

Jack Hayson

Trevor Hosea

Luke Jones

Archie King

Michael Koko

Feta Luamanu

Justin Masters

Billy Meakes

Jon Mokofisi

Matthew Philip

Hugh Roach

Michael Ruru

Sam Talakai

Tasi Tautalatasi

Sione Tui

Semisi Tupou

Kemu Valentini

Beauden Waaka