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Four changes for Rebels

03rd April 2014 04:20

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First start: Male Sau

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made four changes to is starting XV for this Friday's Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Two of the four changes to the line up that beat the Brumbies last week are injury enforced.

Colby Fainga'a has failed to recover from a hip injury and will be replaced in the back row by Sean McMahon, while Tom Kingston continues to follow concussion protocols and was not be considered for selection. Japanese International Male Sau replaces Kingston on the right wing, with Jordy Reid and Alex Rokobaro injected into the matchday squad as reserves for the first time in 2014.

In the two other changes, Shota Horie is named for his first start of the season with Pat Leafa reverted to the reserves bench, while prop Toby Smith returns from a head knock to start in the front row, with Max Lahiff dropping out of the squad.

Whilst disappointed to lose Kingston and Fainga'a, McGahan is confident that their replacements are more than adequate following impressive performances off the bench against the Brumbies.

"Colby pulled up a bit sore, and misses out after doing a fantastic job as expected last week," said McGahan.

"It's a week only, we hope, and both he and Tom Kingston are in contention to return against the Chiefs on Saturday April 12.

"Sean McMahon has played some really good Rugby for us so far this year, especially for a guy who hadn't played any professional 15's and only limited club Rugby. He's adjusted and fitted in well, and we look forward to having him back.

"We slowly embedded Male after he arrived from Japan struggling a little bit with injury, and getting used to training and the team. He's gathering knowledge and combinations and we thought he was terrific against the Brumbies; Male fits seamlessly into the side."

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements:16 Pat Leafa, 17 Paul Alo-Emilie, 18 Cruze Ah-Nau, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Angus Roberts, 23 Alex Rokobaro

Date: Forsyth Barr Stadium
Venue: Friday 4 April
Kick-off: 19.35 local (07:35 BST, 06.35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

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