Lions ready for beefed-up Rebels pack

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

The Lions are on guard for a beefed-up Melbourne Rebels pack focused on laying the platform for a breakthrough Super Rugby win in South Africa.

Unbeaten Melbourne take on the Lions in Johannesburg early Sunday, desperate to end a drought that stretches 15 games since 2011.

The Lions, losing grand finalists for the past three Super Rugby seasons, have two wins and two losses in their 2019 campaign to date.

The Rebels signalled their intent by including Ross Haylett-Petty as a starting lock, with Luke Jones using his formidable height and weight at No.6.

"With Ross, he is 120kg so he adds some weight into our second row, and Jonesy has played a lot of No.6," coach Dave Wessels said.

"It gives us options at line-out and Jonesy has a real work ethic in the back row."

Rebels forward Luke Jones has welcomed the extra depth in Melbourne since he was last at the club. Photo: Rebels Media Lions forwards coach Phillip Lemmer said his team were expecting the Rebels to try to use their size advantage over the locals.

They've also added some experience to their XV, with Springbok lock Marvin Orie returning from his round-two injury and Rhyno Herbst moving to the bench.

The Lions usually have no trouble scoring, piling on 40 points or more in their last four home games against non-South African teams.

"We've got a smaller pack but the way we explode in our scrum is really a key that works for us," Lemmer told reporters in Johannesburg.

"The Rebels maul everything they can maul so I think they see that as a weakness for us ... they will target us there and see if they can get go-forward."

Away from the forward battle, in-form Rebels playmaker Quade Cooper will also be able to test himself against Springboks No.10 Elton Jantjies.

Jantjies, Cooper and Melbourne halfback Will Genia have each had four try assists - more than any other player in the competition this season.

The Rebels take on the Lions on Sunday morning AEDT, kicking off at 12:05am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.