Melbourne Rebels make one change for Brumbies

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made one change to his team to play the Brumbies at AAMI Park in Melbourne with Nic Stirzaker returning to team from suspension.

Scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker, who missed the game against the Waratahs through suspension, returns to the starting lineup in the only change to the team.

McGahan said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing the Brumbies, a side he has great respect for.

“You’re always in for a big challenge when you play against the Brumbies,” McGahan said.

“They’re the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise ever, and are a formidable opponent who have impressed so far again this season. We have a lot of time for their senior playing group and way they get on with their business on the field.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to again test ourselves against one of the competition benchmarks, and show we are continuing to move forward in the right direction following very tough opening games against the Crusaders and Waratahs. “

McGahan also praised the work of his forward pack despite eventually suffering a narrow defeat to the Waratahs.

“I thought that our forward pack performed very well and showed great physicality against the Waratahs, ” McGahan said.

“The performance and togetherness of the forward pack in our opening two games shows that they deserve to hold their spots in the squad moving into the game against the Brumbies. “

Second rower and Foundation Rebel Luke Jones will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance on Saturday. Jones played twice for the Western Force and will make his 48th Super Rugby appearance for the Rebels, as well as one additional Rebels cap earned against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

Jones is on track to become just the fourth player to reach 50 Rebels caps if selected to face the Western Force in Round Five of the 2015 Super Rugby competition.

Former Western Force hooker Ben Whittaker is a chance to make his Rebels debut if he is called off the bench in this game, after being an unused reserve in the Club’s opening two matches this season.

Rebels

1. Toby Smith ,2. Pat Leafa ,3. Laurie Weeks ,4. Luke Jones ,5. Lopeti Timani ,6. Sean McMahon ,7. Colby Fainga’a ,8. Scott Higginbotham (C) ,9. Nic Stirzaker ,10. Jack Debreczeni ,11. Tom English ,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison ,14. Dom Shipperley ,15. Mike Harris

Replacements : 16. Ben Whittaker ,17. Cruze Ah-Nau ,18. Paul Alo-Emile ,19. Sam Jeffries ,20. Scott Fuglistaller ,21. Luke Burgess ,22. Bryce Hegarty ,23. Sefanaia Naivalu

* Denotes Rebels debut

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