Melbourne - Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has made four changes to his match-day 23 ahead of their Super Rugby against the Stormers on Friday.
Kick-off is at 11:45 (SA time).
Prop Sam Talakai, hooker Robbie Abel and lock Ross Haylett-Petty have all been included in the starting forward pack, while Richard Hardwick will return to the squad as a replacement.
Wallabies wing Jack Maddocks and hooker Anaru Rangi have not been considered for selection due to suffering knee tendonitis and a rolled ankle respectively after the Rebels’ win over the Sunwolves.
Lock Matt Philip has also been sidelined with a bruised heel, while promising prop Pone Fa'amausili has been left out for the clash against the Cape Town side.
When quizzed about his star wing’s injury, Wessels told the Rebels’ official website that the decision to rest Maddocks was made less difficult given the minor nature of the injury and by also having a ready-made replacement in fellow outside back Tupou.
“Jack’s got a bit of a grumbly knee with tendonitis in his patella, so we’ll just settle that down and he’ll be right to go next week,” Wessels said.
“Those decisions are made a lot easier when a guy like Semisi (Tupou) trains as well as he does and also plays well in the minutes he got against the Sunwolves, so he’s an exciting young prospect for us (and) we’re excited to see what Semisi brings.”
The Melburnians will go into the match with star centre Billy Meakes, after the No 12 was cleared by the SANZAAR judicial committee after being cited for a hit on Sunwolves centre Jason Emery.
Wessels says Meakes’ clearance will help continue the backs combination which has helped the Rebels sit atop of the Australian Conference.
“Bill’s a good organiser for us in that partnership between him, Quade (Cooper) and Tom English, which has really worked well and they’ve started to play off each other,” Wessels said.
“So we’re really pleased to be able to keep that combination going.”
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Semisi Tupou, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Campbell Magnay
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de
Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8
Jaco Coetzee, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Cobus Wiese, 4
Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes:: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18
Frans Malherbe, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Justin
Phillips, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla