Reece Hodge has been moved to the bench for the Rebels’ Super Rugby AU Round 2 match against the Reds, while the Force have named three big-name signings in the matchday squad for their competition debut.
Melbourne coach Dave Wessels has made just the one change to the side which lost to the Brumbies in Round 1, Campbell Magnay coming into the no.13 jersey and Hodge moving to the bench. Andrew Deegan misses out on selection entirely due to the switch.
Wessels says Hodge’s move to the reserves is due to workload, not form, despite this being just the second week of the competition.
“Campbell’s obviously coming back from a long injury layoff and Hodgey had some injuries before the break, so it’s probably just a case of managing both their loads,” Wessels said.
“Campbell brings something different in terms of his size and physicality and Hodgey will certainly see a fair bit of time at the back end of the game so we’re lucky to have those options.”
The Reds are unchanged from their win over the Waratahs.
New South Wales have likewise gone with the same XV from that match to take on the Force, but have named Karmichael Hunt on the bench in the only change to the matchday squad. Hunt missed out on Round 1 through injury but is expected to play on Saturday night.
Tahs coach Rob Penney hasn’t settled on which player from last week’s loss will slide off the bench for the SCG match, with both Ben Donaldson and Tepai Moeroa named as options in the no.22 jersey.
The Force have named Jono Lance to make his return to the side as starting flyhalf, while former Wallabies and fellow Super Rugby AU recruits Greg Holmes and Kyle Godwin will come off the bench against the Waratahs. The Force’s two other high-profile signings, Pek Cowan and Nick Frisby, have not been selected.
Coach Tim Sampson picked 18 of the players who featured in the side’s last outing, a Global Rapid Rugby match in March, and stressed continuity will be a focus for a side largely bereft of recent top-level rugby experience.
“Consistency and continuity will be very important given it is our first Super Rugby game in a few years,” said Sampson.
“We have several players who have performed consistently well for us and have played at this level before. The selection has a very good balance from 1 to 23 in terms of experience.”
Brookvale Oval, Friday, July 10, 7pm (AEST)
1. Matt Gibbon, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Pone Fa’amausili, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Michael Stolberg, 6. Josh Kemeny, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Michael Wells, 9. Ryan Louwrens, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Billy Meakes, 13. Campbell Magnay, 14. Andrew Kellaway, 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c)
Bench: 16. Efitusi Ma’afu, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Jermaine Ainsley, 19. Trevor Hosea, 20. Esei Haangana, 21. Frank Lomani, 22. Rob Leota, 23. Reece Hodge
1. Harry Hoopert, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Liam Wright (c), 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Jock Campbell, 15. Bryce Hegarty
Bench: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. JP Smith, 18. Josh Nasser, 19. Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20. Angus Scott-Young, 21. Scott Malolua, 22. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 23. Josh Flook
SCG, Saturday, July 11, 7:15pm (AEST)
1. Angus Bell, 2. Robbie Abel, 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 4. Ned Hanigan, 5. Rob Simmons (c), 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Will Harris, 9. Mitch Short, 10. Will Harrison, 11. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 12. Joey Walton, 13. Alex Newsome, 14. James Ramm, 15. Jack Maddocks
Bench: 16. Tom Horton, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Jack Dempsey, 21. Michael McDonald, 22. Ben Donaldson/Tepai Moeroa, 23. Karmichael Hunt
1 Angus Wagner, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 6 Henry Stowers, 7 Tevin Ferris, 8 Brynard Stander (vice-captain), 9 Ian Prior (captain), 10 Jono Lance,11 Brad Lacey, 12 Nick Jooste, 13 Marcel Brache, 14 Byron Ralston, 15 Jack McGregor
Bench: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callen, 21 Jacob Abel, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Kyle Godwin.