World Series Rugby: Rebels head West for Force reunion
Saturday night’s World Series match between the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels is shaping up as one big reunion, with several ex-Force players in line to turn out against their former team mates in the third instalment of Twiggy Forrest’s new venture.
Six of the Rebels’ 23-man squad donned the colours of their opponents last season – Matt Philip, Ross Haylett-Petty, Richard Hardwick, Angus Cottrell, Bill Meakes and Michael Ruru, while head coach Dave Wessels also returns to nib Stadium to take on the side with which he took his Super Rugby bow. Interestingly, he will be sharing coaching duties on the night with Rebels and former England and British & Irish Lions lock Geoff Parling.
“We are really looking forward to a special night,” confirmed Wessels. “I know many of the players and I are excited about returning to Perth to play in front of family and against many old friends. We’ll certainly be trying to do our part to put on an exciting game. It promises to be a night to remember.”
Jack Debreczeni makes his first start for the Rebels in a month at fullback, while Jermaine Ainsley, Michael Ruru and skipper Tom English add plenty of Super Rugby experience to the starting XV.
And in what is a terrific opportunity for some of club rugby’s brightest lights, the replacements bench is littered with Intrust Super Shute Shield regulars in the shape of Matt Gibbon (Southern Districts), Jack Johnson (Randwick), Andrew Tuala (West Harbour), and Rohan O’Regan and Nick Champion de Crespigny from table-topping Sydney University.
Melbourne Rebels v Western Force, World Series Rugby, Match 3
Saturday 9 June, 2018, nib Stadium, Perth, KO: 8.00pm (WST), 10.00pm (AEST)
Melbourne Rebels: 1. Tom Moloney; 2. Nathan Charles; 3. Pone Fa’amausili; 4. Sam Jeffries; 5. Matt Philip; 6. Ross Haylett–Petty; 7. Richard Hardwick; 8. Angus Cottrell; 9. Harrison Goddard; 10. Tayler Adams; 11. Henry Hutchinson; 12. Billy Meakes; 13. Tom English (capt.); 14. Kiti Ratu; 15. Jack Debreczeni
Replacements: 16. Matt Gibbon; 17. Andrew Tuala; 18. Jermaine Ainsley; 19. Nick Champion de Crespigny; 20. Rohan O’Regan; 21. Jack Johnson; 22. Michael Ruru; 23. Hunter Paisami; 24. Jack McGregor