Brumbies and Rebels name their lines up for their opening Super Rugby AU match

Brumbies and Rebels name their lines up for their opening Super Rugby AU match

The Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels kick off their Super Rugby AU season with a clash at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has handed homegrown talent, Mack Hansen, a start at fullback in what will his first Brumbies start. The Daramalan College product and Gungahlin Eagle made his Super Rugby debut last year against the NSW Waratahs and will wear the 15 jersey in the side's first Super Rugby AU matchday 23.


Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa will join Folau Fainga'a and James Slipper in an all-Wallabies front row with Darcy Swain and Murray Douglas making up the tight five. Vice-captain Tom Cusack has been recalled at openside flanker and will be joined by Rob Valetini and Pete Samu in the backrow.

In the backs Joe Powell combines with the impressive Noah Lolesio with the pair getting a chance to reignite their combination in the halves, as will Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield. The electric Tom Wright and ever-reliable Andy Muirhead have been named on the wings with Hansen completing the back three.

After starting the Brumbies last three games pre-shutdown, Connal McInerney will be the replacement hooker alongside Scott Sio and Tom Ross as the front row reinforcements. Lachlan McCaffrey and Will Miller are the other forward replacements, while livewire halfback Issak Fines is in line for his Super Rugby debut off the pine. Bayley Kuenzle and Len Ikitau will cover the other backline positions and round out the matchday 23. 



Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: "We couldn't be happier to see Mack earn his first start for the team."  

"He's a local product who's come through our system and he's been outstanding at training, not just since we've returned to HQ, but all season.

"It's also a really exciting opportunity for Issak to be making his debut on Saturday night.  He's been part of our program on a couple of occasions, he's always impressive at training and he's chomping at the bit to get out there and make an impact.

"The team is really excited to get back out on the field on Saturday night and it's going to be great to have professional rugby back in Australia."

BRUMBIES ROUND ONE TEAM

1. James Slipper
2. Folau Fainga'a
3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Murray Douglas
6. Rob Valetini
7. Tom Cusack
8. Pete Samu
9. Joe Powell
10. Noah Lolesio
11. Tom Wright
12. Irae Simone
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Andy Muirhead
15. Mack Hansen

REPLACEMENTS
16. Connal McInerney
17. Scott Sio
18. Tom Ross
19. Lachlan McCaffrey
20. Will Miller
21. Issak Fines*
22. Bayley Kuenzle
23. Len Ikitau
*Denotes Super Rugby debut


Rebels team

Melbourne Rebels Vice-Captain Matt To’omua has a special reason to celebrate this weekend’s return of Australian rugby, with the flyhalf bringing up his 100th Super Rugby cap.  Fittingly, To’omua will reach the personal milestone against his former side, in the city where he first began his professional playing career as a wide-eyed teenager.

To'omua lines up with Ryan Louwrens as the Rebels halfback pairing with the latter impressing during the opening stages of the 2020 Super Rugby season. Rebels head coach Dave Wessels has also selected Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty in his backline with Andrew Kellaway completing the back three.

In the midfield, Billy Meakes combines with Reece Hodge while Fijian International scrumhalf Frank Lomani and Andrew Deegan provide cover from the bench.

The Rebels' new signings Stolberg and Ma'afu from the Sunwolves both make the matchday 23 with lock Michael Stolberg starting in the second row alongside Matt Philip with Efitusi Ma'afu providing cover for Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese on the bench.

Josh Kemey, Richard Hardwick and Michael Wells all start in the back row for the Rebels with Matt Gibbon and Pone Fa'amausili starting either side of Uelese up front.

MELBOURNE REBELS ROUND ONE TEAM

1. Matt Gibbon

2. Jordan Uelese

3. Pone Fa’amausili

4. Matt Philip

5. Michael Stolberg

6. Josh Kemeny

7. Richard Hardwick

8. Michael Wells (VC)

9. Ryan Louwrens

10. Matt To'omua (VC)

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Billy Meakes

13. Reece Hodge

14. Andrew Kellaway

15. Dane Haylett-Petty ©

Reserves

16. Efitusi Maafu

17. Cameron Orr

18. Jermaine Ainsley

19. Trevor Hosea

20. Esei Haangana

21. Rob Leota

22. Frank Lomani

23. Andrew Deegan

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