Rebels shrug off travel blues to face Reds

Wed, 24/02/2021, 07:30 am
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP
Marika Koroibete is one of the new faces in the Melbourne Rebels' leadership team | Getty Images

Rebels stand-in skipper Matt Toomua admits news of the latest scheduling switch which keeps them out of Melbourne for an extra two weeks initially hit his Super Rugby AU team hard.

While they will wear the big V and the iconic Melbourne logo on their new away jerseys in a partnership with the Victorian government announced on Wednesday, it's ironic their home state is the one place they can't go.

The rugby nomads haven't played at home for more than a year after they were forced out of Victoria because of COVID-19, and now their round-three match on March 6 against the Brumbies has been switched from Melbourne to Canberra.

Register for Stan Sport now to watch every minute of Super Rugby AU. The new add-on Sport package is available for just $10 a month with customers able to get a 30-day free trial for a limited time only.

This will allow them to travel to Perth a week later, which they couldn't have done from Victoria due to a Western Australia travel ban.

After making a sudden exit on February 12 to avoid being locked out of Queensland for their season-opener against the Reds, Toomua said it was blow to the team who spent three months on the road last year and were set on returning from Brisbane on Saturday.

"There was a bit of friction if I'm being honest," Toomua told AAP.

"I think initially being told to get out of Melbourne, that was a little bit hard to take for some guys after spending plenty of time away from family last year and memories of that came back straight away.

"But as the dust settles we realised we're in a different space now and Melbourne's actually got some good measures in place to hopefully allow us to be back in very soon.

"We're very grateful to Rugby Australia and in particular to the Brumbies for swapping that match."

TEAMS, TIMES & TICKETS: Super Rugby Round Two Hub 

WHERE A CLASSIC RIVALRY BEGINS: Brumbies against the Tahs

CRUSADERS UNLOAD STARS: Round one of Super Rugby Aotearoa edges closer

As vice-captain, Toomua has again taken over the captaincy with no timeline for the return of regular skipper Dane Haylett-Petty, who is worryingly still battling concussion symptoms from the Tri-Nations late last year.

Haylett-Petty also missed six weeks of last year's Super Rugby AU with a knee injury.

Toomua's Wallabies campaign was also cut short with a serious groin injury but he says he's good to go on Friday night against the rampant Reds, who crushed the Waratahs in their season-opener while the Rebels had the bye.

But Melbourne will be without a key man in hard-running No.8 Isi Naisarani, who has a hip injury.

The Rebels also announced their leadership group for 2021 on Wednesday with some new faces, including flanker Brad Wilkin, prop Cameron Orr and Wallabies Marika Koroibete, Jordan Uelese and Reece Hodge.

The Rebels take on the Reds on Friday February 26 at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on Stan Sport. Click here to purchase tickets.

Share
Rugby.com.au Logo

The Rugby.com.au are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.