TEAM NEWS: Jake White offers wisdom to Wessels as Rebels face finals showdown

Super Rugby
by AAP

Melbourne have World Cup-winning coach Jake White in their corner as they attempt to secure a maiden Super Rugby finals spot.

The former Springboks mentor, who steered South Africa to the 2007 trophy, has reached out to young Rebels coach and compatriot Dave Wessels this week.

Hosting the Chiefs at AAMI Park on Friday night, the equation is simple for the Rebels - win and play in the top-eight finals series.

Wessels said White, who also coached the Brumbies, called him following their 66-0 drubbing by the defending champion Crusaders last Saturday to offer support and help him tailor his message for his team's clash with the Chiefs.

Jake White has been sent to hospital over dizzy spells. Photo: AFPThe Chiefs are ranked 11th and are seeking a bonus point win to also make the playoffs.

Resting Genia and starting Cooper on the bench last round, Melbourne were always targeting the Chiefs match as the one to cement a playoff berth.

While the Waikato-based side is ranked joint-fourth for points scored, they have also conceded the second-most points in the competition.

"Jake White rang me through the week and said if someone had offered you in January a home game against the Chiefs to make the finals you would have accepted that," Wessels said on Wednesday.

"I'm obviously a coach who is still learning a lot and there's a couple of senior coaches like Jake who take a lot of trouble to communicate.

"They've been in the washing machine of it before and sometimes when you're down you haven't got a lot of people phoning you so I'm very grateful.

"I ask him for technical ideas but he's helped me focus the messaging down a little bit.

"When we play well we are very hard to stop but the trick is to find the levers to get that performance out consistently."

Melbourne have reinstalled their premier halves pairing Will Genia and Quade Cooper but have two Wallabies omissions for the match.

The Rebels have left out Test lock Adam Coleman (shoulder) while winger Jack Maddocks has made way in a backline reshuffle.

Reece Hodge returns for the Rebels. Photo: Getty ImagesReece Hodge will replace Maddocks and Tom English will partner Billy Meakes in the centres, while Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete is also back in the starting side.

Wessels said Maddocks had a few niggles and also needed a mental refresh.

"It's showtime for us," said Wessels.

"We've got an opportunity to do something for the club that we've never been able to do so I think guys are pretty motivated."

The Rebels face the Chiefs on Friday June 14 at AAMI Park, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.


1. Tetera Faulkner

2. Anaru Rangi

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Matt Philip

5. Luke Jones

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. Reece Hodge

15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c)


16. Jordan Uelese

17. Matt Gibbon

18. Sam Talakai

19. Ross Haylett-Petty

20. Rob Leota

21. Michael Ruru

22. Matt To'omua

23. Campbell Magnay