Burgess comes in for Rebels

Date published: February 19 2015

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made one enforced change to his starting XV for Friday's derby with the Waratahs in Melbourne.

Scrum-half Nic Stirzaker has been suspended for one week, so Wallaby Luke Burgess moves to the starting line-up and exciting second-year Rebel Ben Meehan is named in the matchday 23 for the first time this year.

Whilst disappointed to lose Stirzaker, McGahan had faith in the ability of both his scrumhalves to cover the loss.

“Nic is an important player for us, but we have quality players within this position,” he told the Melbourne Rebels' official website.

“Luke and Ben will drive us from scrum-half this week. Both are looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the starting side and matchday squad respectively, and look forward to playing their role within the team.”

McGahan was pleased to be able to have some continuity in the line-up.

“Our Performance and Medical staff have done an excellent job in ensuring that we have an almost entirely full squad to pick from,” he said.

“As with last week, that means some talented players miss out, but it’s a positive to be able to acknowledge the strong performances of Round One through retaining those players in the squad this week.”

Former Western Force hooker Ben Whittaker remains a chance to make his Rebels debut if he is called off the bench in this game.

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu.

Date: Friday, February 20
Venue: AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Referees: James Leckie, Michael Hogan
TMO: Peter Marshall