Melbourne Rebels Look to Fire With Physicality to Take on Chiefs

Wed, May 15, 2024, 3:55 AM
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

The Melbourne Rebels have announced their team to take on the visiting Chiefs at AAMI Park this Friday for Round 13 of Super Rugby Pacific. Opting for a starting team and impact bursting with physicality and work-rate, the Rebels will look to make the most of their dynamic forwards and midfield.

The welcome return of Brad Wilkin at openside flank is a huge boost for the home side and will provide critical for the Rebels at the breakdown, coupled with his leadership around the park his inclusion is sure to make a difference from the start of the game. 

Isaac Kailea gets his third start of the season, with the homegrown loosehead prop showing his worth, a critical component in the successful Rebels’ scrum. Alongside hooker Jordan Uelese and Sam Talakai at tighthead, the Rebels will look for continuity in their set piece. 

Tuaina Taii Tualima moves to the starting lock position with the in-form Josh Canham running the lineout and posing a threat when jumping in defence. The young Victorian leads the competition for lineout wins per 80 minutes played and defensively is 4th in Super Rugby Pacific for stealing opposition throws. 

Josh Kemeny starts at blindside flank with back row partners Brad Wilkin and Vailoini Ekuasi in the 8 jersey. 

Speaking on Wilkin’s return, teammate Lachie Anderson believes the flanker will make an immediate impact slotting into the starting side. “To watch him and his resilience, and how he goes about his work, it’s inspiring for all the boys here” Anderson said speaking on Wilkin’s determination at training to return and the positive impact it has on the team. 

Ryan Louwrens starts at scrumhalf with his playmaking partner Carter Gordon at flyhalf.  

After a strong start last week at inside centre, Nick Jooste holds his place with Filipo Daugunu his midfield partner. Jooste impressed with his physicality against the Reds, flying off the line to make multiple big hits and force turnovers with his pressure on their playmakers. 

Darby Lancaster makes another start on the wing alongside Lachie Anderson, connecting with Jake Strachan at fullback.  

Ethan Dobbins moves into reserve hooker, alongside Matt Gibbon and the returning Pone Fa’amasuili who will play his first game for the Rebels in 2024 from the bench. 

Angelo Smith, Maciu Nabolakasi and Rob Leota make up the remaining impact for the forwards, with the Rebels opting for a forward-heavy reserve list primed to make a late-game impact at the breakdown and maintain set piece continuity. 

Jack Maunder lines up as reserve scrumhalf alongside finisher Glen Vaihu who can cover multiple roles across the backfield. 

The Melbourne Rebels take on the Chiefs in Round 13 of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, kicking off at 7:35PM AEST, Friday, May 17 at AAMI Park. The match will be shown ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sports.

The Melbourne Rebels Round 13 Matchday Partner is the TAC. Partnerships like this play a critical role in embedding a culture of road safety across the state.

Over the past five years, a yearly average of 21% of driver and motorcycle rider fatalities had an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level. This figure does not include other road users killed or seriously injured by drink drivers.

The safest way to know for sure that you are under 0.05 BAC is to completely separate drinking and driving. There are many factors that can impact BAC readings such as gender, age, weight, fatigue levels or tolerance to alcohol - no one can accurately judge their BAC, especially if they’ve had a few drinks.

So, if you’re planning to drink, don’t drive. Plan a safe way home instead.

Starting Team

1. Isaac Kailea

2. Jordan Uelese

3. Sam Talakai (c)

4. Tuaina Taii Tualima

5. Josh Canham

6. Josh Kemeny

7. Brad Wilkin

8. VaioliniI Ekuasi

9. Ryan Louwrens

10. Carter Gordon

11. Darby Lancaster 

12. Nick Jooste

13. Filipo Daugunu

14. Lachie Anderson

15. Jake Strachan 

Reserves

16. Ethan Dobbins

17. Matt Gibbon

18. Pone Fa’amausili

19. Angelo Smith

20. Maciu Nabolakasi

21. Rob Leota

22. Jack Maunder

23. Glen Vaihu

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