James O'Connor will take on Quade Cooper as the Rebels travel to Brisbane where they face the Reds in an Australian derby on Saturday.
James O'Connor is set to take on Quade Cooper as the Rebels travel to Brisbane where they face the Reds in a Super Rugby clash on Saturday.
Bryce Hegarty will join the reserves bench as the Rebels look for their third win in a row, and their first against the 2011 champions.
Head coach Damien Hill suggested the wins are doing more than just unveiling new talent, but instilling confidence throughout the entire squad.
“We approach every season with a squad mentality. Given the nature of the competition we are going to have players come in and out of the team,” said Hill.
“With many players being unavailable in recent months, it has given players like Bryce an opportunity to step up. We couldn't be more pleased with how Bryce, Kimami and Stirzaker have taken their chances. It gives every player in the team confidence in the entire squad, and I think that is an extremely positive thing for the club.”
Hill stated the significance of O'Connor's return for the match, not only for Australian Rugby, but more importantly for the club.
“James was desperate to play last week, however it was in his and the club's best interest to play when the injury had not fully recovered. He has been physically tested over the past 24 hours, and has shown no signs that the injury will play a factor in his performance,” he added.
“Leaving the Wallabies aside he is desperate for a win against the Reds with this group.”
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Lachlan Mitchell, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Cadeyrn Neville, 19 Gareth Delve, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Bryce Hegarty, 22 Kimami Sitauti.
Date: Saturday, June 1
Kick-off: 19:40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)