Jones hits 50 for Rebels

Date published: March 12 2015

Utility forward Luke Jones will make his 50th appearance for the Melbourne Rebels when they face the Western Force in Perth on Friday.

Jones, who starts in the second row, will become just the fourth Rebel to reach 50 caps for the five-year old franchise, following in the footsteps of current teammate Laurie Weeks and former Rebels Lachlan Mitchell and Hugh Pyle.

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan was pleased for the 23-year-old, who has started the 2015 season in strong form.

“Luke’s an integral part of the Club, and for such a young man to be reaching a half century of Rebels caps shows what a big impact he has had during his time in Melbourne,” McGahan told the Melbourne Rebels' official website.

“We are looking to him to continue to lead at set piece time, and to lift against a Western Force pack that has a great work rate and is extremely physical.”

In the only change to the starting side which was narrowly defeated by the Brumbies in Round Three, Scott Fuglistaller will start at openside flanker, with Colby Fainga’a named as a reserve.

The Rebels have also named two potential debutants on the bench, with hooker Tom Sexton and lock Steve Cummins hoping to get on the field for their first taste of Super Rugby action.

“We have an extremely competitive back row with plenty of competition for places,” McGahan said of the decision to start Fuglistaller.

“Scott comes in this week for his first starting opportunity of 2015, and we’re looking forward to him playing his role.

“Tom Sexton has worked incredibly hard to return from a serious knee injury suffered last season, and deserves his selection in the squad, while Steve Cummins has impressed over the preseason and early part of the season with his knowledge and improvement since joining the Club from Eastwood, via a stint with the EP Kings in South Africa’s Currie Cup last season.”

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

Date: Friday, March 13
Kick-off: 19.00 local (11.00 GMT, 22.00 NZST, 13.00 SAST)
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)