McMahon return boosts Rebels
Cape Town - The Melbourne Rebels have named their team for their historic first game against the Jaguares at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made just two changes to the starting line-up which lost to the Force in Perth last week with the return of flanker Sean McMahon and fullback Jack Maddocks.
McMahon missed the game against the Brumbies before the four-week international break and the side’s return against the Force last weekend after he suffered a wrist injury against the Crusaders in Round 14.
The Rebels have named an unchanged front row with James Hanson, Laurie Weeks and Toby Smith, who will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the club.
Maddocks will make his third Super Rugby start after McGahan promoted the rising star to the run-on team following the 20-year-old’s return from injury off the bench against the Force in Perth last weekend.
The arm injury against the Waratahs in Round 13 sidelined Maddocks for the 2017 World Rugby U-20s Championship in Georgia.
“Sean’s return is timely to provide added physically up front against a very strong and powerful Jaguares forward pack,” said McGahan.
“The Jaguares have been impressive in their second season, including a dominant performance in their first outing on Australian soil last weekend against the Waratahs, but we’re hungry to finish the season on a positive note and send off some key players with a win.”
Australian U-20s back Semisi Tupou is set to make his Super Rugby debut after he was named on an extended reserves bench for the first time in his career.
The inclusion caps off a big year for Tupou who played a key role for the Rebels U20s and appeared in all five games of Australia’s 2017 World Rugby U20s Championship campaign, including three starts in the green and gold.
15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi 7 Colby Fainga’a 6 Sean McMahon 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Fereti Sa’aga, 19 Esei Haangana,, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Semisi Tupou, 24 Jonah Placid