Landmarks for Harris, Shipperley

Date published: March 19 2015

Rebels' head coach Tony McGahan made just one enforced change to his side to face the Lions on Friday at AAMI Park in Round Six of the Super Rugby competition.

Rebels recruits Mike Harris and Dom Shipperley will each make their 50th Super Rugby appearance this week.

Australian U20s full-back Jonah Placid, who made one Super Rugby appearance before moving to Melbourne prior to the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, will make his Rebels debut alongside his half-centurion former Reds teammates.

Jack Debreczeni, who earlier this week appeared on track to play, has been withdrawn with a minor knee complaint, with Harris moving to fly-half and Placid starting at full-back. In better news on the injury front, Lopeti Timani has been declared fit to play after a head knock last week, while Tom Sexton has again been named as a reserve and is a chance to make his Rebels debut.

McGahan said he was pleased with the impact Harris and Shipperley have made since moving to Melbourne, and was delighted that they get to celebrate their milestone in front of a home crowd who have quickly warmed to then.

“Mike and Dom have had a big impact on the group, both on and off the field, and make the job of their teammates a lot easier," McGahan said.

"I’m pleased for both of them to reach this milestone despite having plenty of years of Rugby ahead of them, and I know the Rebels members and fans at AAMI Park will get behind them and the rest of the team as we look to build on last weekend’s victory in Perth.”

McGahan said he was confident that Placid would make the most of his first opportunity to play Super Rugby for the Rebels, after impressing at AAMI Park for the Melbourne Rising.

“Jonah is somebody who we believe has a very exciting future, and all the signs in training indicate he is ready to play at this level,” he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing him in action on Friday night.”

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Mike Harris, 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 20
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 local (08.40 GMT, 21.40 NZST, 10.40 SAST)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)