Rebels change two for derby clash against Reds

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has named a team with two changes to the starting line up for this week’s Super Rugby match against the Reds at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

The Rebels lost to the Hurricanes in Wellington last week but McGahan has kept changes to a minimum for consistency.

Tighthead prop Paul Alo-Emile will make his first start of the season, replacing the injured Laurie Weeks in the side, while utility forward Lopeti Timani returns to start at lock after a week off.

Tim Metcher is named on the bench for the first time and is a chance to make his Super Rugby debut, while McGahan has opted for a 6/2 split of forwards and backs, naming Jordy Reid in a matchday squad for the first time this season, as Luke Burgess also returns to the squad.

McGahan said he was looking forward to taking on a Reds side full of internationals.

“Everybody at the Club is really looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Reds,” he said.

“We had two great battles with them last season, and we are prepared for another; they’re a quality team, with a huge amount of experience at Super 15 and Test match level.”

McGahan also said he was confident that Alo-Emile would perform from the outset in his first start of the campaign, and welcomed Timani back.

“Paul has shown in every game what he brings to the team, and while we were disappointed to see Laurie go down, we have greater depth than ever before. Paul played almost a full game last week against the Hurricanes and did a very good job, and Tim Metcher gets his chance on the bench after working so hard since joining the Club late last year.

“Lopeti has had an impressive campaign thus far, adjusting well to a new position and greater responsibility, and we’re looking forward to seeing him back out there.”

Rebels

1. Toby Smith ,2. Pat Leafa ,3. Paul Alo-Emile ,4. Luke Jones ,5. Lopeti Timani ,6. Sean McMahon ,7. Scott Fuglistaller ,8. Scott Higginbotham (c),9. Nic Stirzaker ,10. Jack Debreczeni ,11. Sefanaia Naivalu ,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison ,14. Tom English ,15. Mike Harris

Reserves:16. Tom Sexton ,17. Cruze Ah-Nau ,18. Tim Metcher *,19. Cadeyrn Neville ,20. Colby Fainga’a ,21. Luke Burgess ,22. Jordy Reid ,23. Bryce Hegarty

* Denotes potential Rebels debut

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