Coleman to miss Super Rugby opener, Genia and Cooper reunited

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels lock Adam Coleman will miss out on Melbourne's season opener against the Brumbies with injury.

Coleman is the latest Wallaby player to have succumbed to a calf injury suffered during the national camp, along with Nick Phipps, Dane Haylett-Petty and David Pocock.

Phipps is also set to miss the opening round while Haylett-Petty and Pocock have been cleared to play.

With a Rebels bye in round two, Coleman is expected to be back in action by the Rebels' round three match against the Highlanders in Melbourne.

The early break could be a blessing in disguise for the Rebels, according to coach Dave Wessels, giving Coleman, Reece Hodge and centre Campbell Magnay the chance to prove their fitness without missing an extra Super Rugby game.

"All of our focus is just going at this stage into round one and then we've got a bye in round two which is lucky for guys like Adam and Hodgey and Mango and the guys who aren't playing this week, they almost get another two weeks of preseason to get ready," he said.

"So I think all in all that's going to work really well for us."

Reece Hodge says the Rebels don't want to let finals slip. Photo: Getty ImagesHodge was "touch and go" for the weekend's game but the Rebels have opted to take the cautious route with their Test utility in what will be a big Super Rugby and international year for the 24-year-old.

"Probably in the interests of Australian rugby and things like that, decided not to rush him," Wessels said.

"He's got a big year for us ahead so he probably could've squeezed in but also just a huge confidence in the guys we have picked.

"They all deserve to be there and a big part of all the improvement that they've made over the last couple of months."

Hooker Jordan Uelese is another absentee but his return date is less clear as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered back in June last year.

Uelese was initially hopeful of a round one return but the Rebels are now reluctant to put a return timeline on the youngster.


Quade Cooper and Will Genia's on-field Super Rugby reunion has been made official, with the pair named in the halves.

Luke Jones and Matt Philip will team up in the second row, while new recruit Isi Naisarani has been named to start at no. 8, alongside Angus Cottrell and Richard Hardwick in the backrow.

Wessels said Jones's return to the club from French team Bordeaux would be a welcome one.

"It's great to see someone like Jonesy return to the club," he said.

"He's got incredible work rate, he's probably the kind of lock who's going to make you 20 tackles a game, which is really impressive, but he's also worked very hard around his set piece.

"That's a part of his game that probably improved a lot in Europe, it's just a requirement when you're playing in those conditions to be good at that sort of stuff.

"His lineout is going to be a real point of difference for  us this year, both attack and defence."

The Brumbies named their team earlier on Thursday with Pocock cleared and new recruit James Slipper to start.

The Rebels take on the Brumbies on Friday February 15 at GIO Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.

TEAM

Rebels to face Brumbies

1. Tetera Faulkner

2. Anaru Rangi

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Luke Jones

5. Matt Philip

6. Angus Cottrell

7. Richard Hardwick

8. Isi Naisarani

9. Will Genia

10. Quade Cooper

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Billy Meakes

13. Tom English

14. Jack Maddocks

15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves

16. Robbie Abel

17. Matt Gibbon

18. Sam Talakai

19. Esei Haangana

20. Brad Wilkin

21. Rob Leota

22. Michael Ruru

23. Semisi Tupou