Rebels skipper Coleman returns for Waratahs derby

The Melbourne Rebels have made four changes to the match-day 23 for Sunday afternoon’s game against the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney from 4.05pm (AEDT).

Rebels skipper Adam Coleman returns to the second row after the lock was rested for last weekend’s victory over the Brumbies at AAMI Park with sternum soreness.

Coleman’s return will see Ross Haylett-Petty shifted to the backrow after Head Coach Dave Wessels rewarded the physical flanker with a second consecutive start this season after an impressive outing against the Brumbies.

Flyer Marika Koroibete will make his long-awaited first start of the year after the international winger returned from a knee injury via the reserves bench last weekend.

Hooker Jodan Uelese is expected to miss a week after a minor hamstring injury suffered at training midweek which will see Anaru Rangi promoted to the starting line-up for his run-on debut for the Rebels.

Home-grown hooker Mahe Vailanu is in line to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench after the 19-year-old was named on the reserves bench.

“It’s great to have Adam (Coleman) back in the mix this weekend,” Wessels said.

“Having him back in training has really lifted the standard of our set piece work.

Gus Cottrell was down with the flu in the early part of the week, so we’ve decided to give him the week off.

It’s another well-deserved opportunity for Ross (Haylett-Petty) – who got through a mountain of work against the Brumbies – to start on the side of our scrum.”

The Rebels will be looking to make a clean sweep of the Australian Conference to start their 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby campaign following bonus point victories over the Reds, Sunwolves and Brumbies in the opening three games.

The Weary Dunlop Trophy will be on the line on Sunday when the Waratahs look the defend the perpetual trophy following their 32-25 victory in Sydney in Round 13 last year.

The Rebels last held the Weary Dunlop Trophy in 2016 when they defeated the Waratahs 21-17 in Round 6 at Allianz Stadium.

The Rebels are aiming for a third consecutive victory over an Australian rival for a fourth time in the club’s history. The Rebels recorded three straight wins over Australian sides in 2014 (Rd 7-14), 2015 (Rd 5-10) and 2016 (Rd 1-6).

“The Waratahs have quality players across the field who can hurt you. We need to play with the same intensity and physicality that we’ve shown over the first couple of weeks,” Wessels said.

2018 Vodafone Super Rugby
Melbourne Rebels v NSW Waratahs
Sunday 18 March 2018
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 4.05pm (AEDT)

Melbourne Rebels team for Waraths, Sunday 18 March, Allianz Stadium, Sydney:

  1. Tetera Faulkner
  2. Anaru Rangi
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Matt Philip
  5. Adam Coleman (c)
  6. Lopeti Timani
  7. Ross Haylett-Petty
  8. Amanaki Mafi
  9. Will Genia
  10. Jack Debreczeni
  11. Marika Koroibete
  12. Reece Hodge
  13. Tom English
  14. Jack Maddocks
  15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves:

  1. Mahe Vailanu
  2. Ben Daley
  3. Sam Talakai
  4. Colby Fainga’a
  5. Richard Hardwick
  6. Michael Ruru
  7. Billy Meakes
  8. Sefa Naivalu