McMahon to lead Rebels against Stormers
Melbourne - Flank Sean McMahon will return from Wallabies duty to lead
the Rebels into the final home game of the season against the Stormers
in Melbourne on Saturday.
McMahon will captain the Rebels for the sixth time this season after
scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker injured his ankle at training on Tuesday and
will miss the return of the Super Rugby season.
Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made just two personnel changes to
the starting line-up that defeated the Western Force in the club’s last
outing before the four-week international break.
The injury to Stirzaker will see Ben Meehan return to the starting
line-up for the first time since Round 5 while Jonah Placid will
start on the right wing as Sefa Naivalu shifts to outside centre.
“We’ve had a really good couple of weeks on the training ground,
including an exhibition game against the Hurricanes last week, so we’re
looking forward to the remaining three weeks and strong finish to the
season,” said McGahan.
“Unfortunately we’ve lost Nic to injury during the week but we’ve
shown already this season that we’ve got the depth and leadership across
the field to pick up the responsibilities.
“The final home game of the season is always a special occasion for
players and fans but Saturday night’s game holds extra significance for
the club as we a farewell foundation player and acknowledge Luke’s
contribution to the Rebels over the last six years.”
After he limped off early in the first half against the Force, Mike
Harris has made the most of the Super Rugby hiatus to overcome a
hamstring injury in time for his last home game and 20th cap in Rebels
Along with Harris, Saturday’s game will be the final home outing for
Rebels foundation player Luke Jones in front of family and friends. The
club’s games record holder will make his 37th and last appearance at
McGahan has stuck with the same front row that defeated the Force
27-22 in Round 14 with Toby Smith remaining at tighthead prop for the
second time this season, alongside James Hanson and Cruze Ah Nau.
Prop Laurie Weeks has been named on the reserve bench in his return
to Super Rugby after being sidelined since Round 9 with a hamstring
injury. The last time Weeks started as a replacement was against the
Stormers in the corresponding round last year.
The Rebels have named uncapped Paul Asquith on the reserve bench for
the first time with the 22-year-old back set to make his Super Rugby
15 Mike Harris, 14 Jonah Placid, 13 Sefa Naivalu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom
English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Colby Fainga’a 7 Sean
McMahon (c) 6 Jordy Reid 5 Lopeti Timani 4 Luke Jones 3 Toby Smith 2
James Hanson 1 Cruze Ah Nau
Substitutes:16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Laurie
Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Mitch
Inman, 23 Paul Asquith
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de
Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk
Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben
Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD
Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Louis
Schreuder, 23 Scott van Breda