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    Rebels make 3 changes for Bulls clash

    2018-04-19 07:25

    Pretoria - A return from injury for centre Reece Hodge headlines three changes to the Melbourne Rebels starting XV ahead of their clash against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

    Kick-off is at 15:05.

    Hodge joins lock Matt Philip, back-rower Angus Cottrell and scrumhalf Michael Ruru as the inclusions in the starting line-up. Ruru will make his first-ever Rebels start, after Will Genia suffered a hamstring injury in the loss to Jaguares in the last round.

    Billy Meakes and Geoff Parling will start on the bench, making way for Hodge and Phillip respectively. Ruru’s elevation to the starting line-up means a potential season debut for young scrumhalf, Harrison Goddard.

    Cottrell returns to the starting line-up since re-committing to the Melbourne Rebels, while Richard Hardwick shook off any concussion concerns from the Jaguares match and will start on the bench. Fereti Sa’aga also returns for his first match after missing matches against the Hurricanes and Jaguares, replacing the injured Ben Daley (shoulder).

    Flyhalf Jack Debreczeni will celebrate a special personal milestone, reaching 50 Melbourne Rebels and Super Rugby caps this Saturday.

    Rebels head coach Dave Wessels said playing in South Africa was exciting challenge for the squad.

    “The Rebels have never won in South Africa, but to change that we’re going to have to play well against a very good Bulls team,” Wessels told the Rebels’ official website.

    “It’s exciting for guys like Michael (Ruru) and Harrison (Goddard); they have a great opportunity to impose themselves on the Super Rugby competition.

    “The Bulls have played very well in the last few weeks and they’re obviously well-coached. We know that we’re going to have to be at our best.”

    Teams:

    Bulls

    15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman

    Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews

    Melbourne Rebels

    15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner

    Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Sefa Naivalu

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