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    McMahon returns to boost Rebels

    2017-05-11 11:16

    Cape Town - The Rebels will welcome back Sean McMahon and Colby Fainga’a for Saturday's Australian derby against the Reds in Melbourne.

    Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has named a settled line-up for the Round 12 clash with only one change to the starting XV with the return of stand-in captain Colby Fainga'a after a week on the sideline.

    Fainga'a was a late withdrawal against the Lions last weekend after the flanker failed to pass a fitness test for a thigh injury during the pre-game warm-up.

    McMahon is set to make his first appearance of the 2017 Super Rugby season after he was named on the replacements bench.

    The Wallaby back-row has missed the first 11 rounds of the season after a knee strain during rehabilitation delayed his return from an ankle injury sustained during The Rugby Championship last year.

    "It’s timely to get back some key personnel with the return of Colby (Fainga’a) and Sean (McMahon) to provide some much needed experience and depth against a quality Queensland Reds outfit," said McGahan.

    "We know that we let ourselves down against the Lions last weekend with poor execution so our focus this week is to perform the basics otherwise the Reds will punish our mistakes."

    McGahan has kept the same tight five with no changes to the front row of Toby Smith, James Hanson and Laurie Weeks, along with Steve Cummins and Dominic Day in the locks.

    The halves partnership of scrumhalf Ben Meehan and flyhalf Ben Volavola, who was named on Wednesday in Fiji’s 36-player squad for June’s five-Test international series, will start for the second consecutive game.

    The Rebels have named an unchanged back-line for the third week with Mitch Inman and Tom English to combine in the centres, Marika Koroibete and Sefa Naivalu on the wings and Reece Hodge at fullback.

    McMahon will be joined on the reserves bench by Siliva Siliva, Fereti Sa’aga, Tyrel Lomax, Culum Retallick, Harrison Goddard, Will Miller and Jack Maddocks.

    The Rebels will contest its third Australian derby of the year when they host the third-placed Reds on Saturday. Just four points separate the two sides on the Australian Conference ladder with six rounds remaining.

    The Rebels have claimed victory in four of the six previous meetings against the Reds, including the two encounters last season.

    Teams:

    Rebels

    15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a (captain), 6 Hugh Sinclair, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith 

    Substitutes: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Will Miller, 23 Jack Maddocks

    Reds

    15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Campbell Magnay, 13 Samu Kerevi (captain), 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sef Fa'agase

    Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Izaia Perese

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