Rebels beef up their pack for Reds

Date published: April 2 2015

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made just two changes to his starting XV for Friday's clash with the Reds in Melbourne.

Tighthead prop Paul Alo-Emile will make his first start of the season, replacing the injured Laurie Weeks in the side, while utility forward Lopeti Timani returns to start at lock after a week off.

Tim Metcher is named on the bench for the first time and has a chance to make his Super Rugby debut, while McGahan has opted for a six/two split of forwards and backs, naming Jordy Reid in a matchday squad for the first time this season, as Luke Burgess also returns.

Looking ahead to the game, McGahan is excited about taking on a Reds side full of internationals.

“Everybody at the club is really looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Reds,” he said.

“We had two great battles with them last season, and we are prepared for another; they’re a quality team, with a huge amount of experience at Super 15 and Test match level.”

McGahan also said he was confident that Alo-Emile would perform from the outset in his first start of the campaign, and welcomed Timani back.

“Paul has shown in every game what he brings to the team, and while we were disappointed to see Laurie go down, we have greater depth than ever before" he added.

"Paul played almost a full game last week against the Hurricanes and did a very good job, and Tim Metcher gets his chance on the bench after working so hard since joining the club late last year.

“Lopeti has had an impressive campaign thus far, adjusting well to a new position and greater responsibility, and we’re looking forward to seeing him back out there.”

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Tom English, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Jordy Reid, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Date: Friday, April 3
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 local (08.40 GMT, 21.40 NZST, 10.40 SAST)
Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)