McMahon returns to Rebels starting XV

Date published: June 26 2014

Rebels boss Tony McGahan has named an exciting starting XV for Friday's clash with the Reds in Melbourne.

Rebels boss Tony McGahan has named an exciting starting XV for Friday's clash with the Reds in Melbourne.

Young flanker Sean McMahon is in the starting line-up and Jack Debreczeni will make his run-on debut, after playing in the Rebels previous two matches as a replacement.

Debreczeni recently re-signed with the Rebels and is part of a back-line shuffle that also sees flyer Jason Woodward move to the right wing.

McGahan was excited to unleash the youngster from the first minute against the Reds.

“Jack has been able to play effectively off the bench for the last two games, and we really want to have a good look at him starting,” McGahan told the Rebels' official website.

“With Jason and Tom joining him in the back three, and Tamati and Mitch in the centres, there are plenty of good players around Jack to help him settle in. We're really excited for him; he has known for a while he was getting that opportunity so he's been able to really enjoy training without being lumped with the surprise later in the week, and I think he has appreciated that.”

Debreczeni's inclusion is one of three personnel changes to the starting fifteen which lined up against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday May 31.

Following an extremely impressive campaign at the IRB Junior World Championships, Australia U20 captain McMahon returns to the starting lineup at blindside flanker, with Colby Fainga'a switching to openside.

“We kept a close eye on the IRB Junior World Championships, and were in conversation with the Australian U20 Head Coach Adrian Thompson about our players and their progress,” said McGahan.

“Sean had a huge impact at the tournament, and we're really keen for him to get some more game time this week. He'll have a big impact on the carry, at the breakdown and with his tackling, and we're looking forward to him making a real statement.

“Colby moves to the seven jersey; he has been terrific playing in tandem with Scott Fuglistaller for a good period of time. There won't be a lot of difference for him moving into that jersey, and we think that he and Sean will give us a great start before Scott comes on and hopefully helps close the game out for us.”

Wallaby scrum-half Luke Burgess also returns to the starting team, after injuring his knee against the Reds in Brisbane last month. Burgess had scored two tries prior to sustaining the injury, and will be looking for a repeat performance. In a further boost to the Rebels, fellow scrum-half Nic Stirzaker has recovered from an ankle injury to be named as a replacement.

“Luke and Nic have both done a really good job for us this season, and this weekend Luke has the opportunity to start,” added McGahan.

“Ben Meehan has done a great job for the last two games, but they come back in and we are confident in their ability to get the job done.”

Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn 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 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Telusa Veainu, 23 Tom Kingston.

Date: Friday, June 27
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 local (09.40 GMT, 10.40 BST)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)