The Australian stage of Super Rugby 2018 started with the Rebels and the Reds on Friday morning in Melbourne. The insurgents had a serious 2017, waiting for the eighth round for their first victory. Then came a draw against the sharks, but they lost the rest of their games.
The Reds had a little better. They won four and lost 11, but they were in the playoff race at the start of the season.
For its opening, Rebels Army trainer Dave Wessels called the ten international teams in his squad. All eyes will be on Will Genia, who makes his first appearance after an injury that kept him out of the preseason.
Previously, Gena played for the Reds, but his coach said the 30-year-old man is happily committed to his new team.
Wallabi striker Marika Koroibet, who suffers a knee injury, is the only key player not available for the Rebels’ choice.
This is a great season for the rebels. They were close to getting a shoe in the truncated structure of Super Rugby, but they survived, although the latter had completed a stony cold.
But Wessels said he does not experience any additional pressure.
Meanwhile, the Reds will not count on Carmichael Hunt, who remains under investigation by Australian rugby (RA) after he eluded his conviction for drug possession.
The punishment for possession of cocaine against him was removed earlier this week due to lack of evidence.
New coach Brad Thorn has stumbled from the moment he arrives, giving Quade Cooper his marching orders and calling Scott Higginbotham’s captain.
Expect a fierce encounter with both sides, which have a lot of evidence.
Rebels: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Tom English, Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni, Will Genia, Amanaki Mafi, Angus Cottrell, Lopeti Timani, Adam Coleman (captain), Matt Philip, Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Uelese, Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Sam Talakai, Sam Jeffries, Ross Haylett-Petty, Michael Ruru, Semisi Tupou, Billy Meakes
Reds: Aidan Toua, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Jono Lance, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham (captain), Adam Korczyk, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper
Substitutes: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Sef Fa’agase, Kane Douglas, Liam Wright, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu
Friday, 23 February at 10:40 (SAST) at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.