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Rebels milestone for Weeks

29th May 2014 08:51

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Half century: Laurie Weeks

The Rebels welcome back experienced duo Tamati Ellison and Laurie Weeks for this week's visit to Canberra to play the Brumbies.

Weeks will bring up his 50th Rebels cap, just the third player in the Club's short history to achieve the feat after Lachlan Mitchell and Hugh Pyle, replacing Paul Alo-Emile in the starting front row.

One of four remaining Foundation Rebels, Weeks returns after a one-week absence from an ankle injury, while Ellison has recovered from a minor knee knock suffered in training last week ahead of the visit of the Waratahs to AAMI Park.

Rebels' Assistant Coach Sean Hedger was pleased to see Laurie reach an important milestone, and backed the tighthead prop to perform well against quality opposition.

"It's great for Laurie, he's a great leader and it's good for a young Club like ours to be achieving these types of milestones," said Hedger.

"A lot of people describe us as a good, young bunch of players, but we also need guys with a bit more experience to reach these milestones. The Reds have had four people reach 100 caps this season, and we need to keep players at the Club to reach these sorts of levels."

"Saturday night is a great opportunity for him to test himself against an incumbent Wallaby in Scott Sio and indeed an entire Wallaby front row at the Brumbies."

Japanese international duo Shota Horie and Male Sau are also back after securing 2015 Rugby World Cup qualification in their homeland, with Sau picked to start and Horie to provide hooker cover for Pat Leafa from the bench. Tom Kingston drops to the bench, providing outside back cover.

"Shota and Male were well looked after (on international duty). The games they played weren't too taxing, as they achieved some big results, and they return in good condition and ready to go.

Flanker Jordy Reid joins the matchday squad as a reserve for the second time this season, replacing Sean McMahon who is away as captain of the Australian Under 20s side at the IRB Junior World Championships in New Zealand.

Reid was an unused reserve in the club's Round Eight match against the Highlanders in Dunedin, and will be hoping to add to his nine Super Rugby caps from the 2013 season.

"We have a lot of backrow depth which has kept him out, but Jordy is a quality player," Hedger said. "He's played plenty of Rebels games in the past, and he will be keen to get on the field and show his wares.

"He is a good club man and team player, who has kept a great attitude when out of the side. He knows the areas he needs to work on, and he has been constantly working to get better. We're pleased to see him get his chance."

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Caderyn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Tom Kingston

Date: Saturday, May 31
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kickoff: 19:40 (local, 09:40 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant Referees: James Leckie (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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