Jordan Petaia will make his latest comeback from injury off the bench for the Reds in their match against the Brumbies on Saturday night.
The young Wallaby dislocated his shoulder back in February and hasn’t played since, but after training strongly this week he’s been named amongst the reserves for this weekend’s trip to the nation’s capital. Surprisingly, he’s joined on the bench by halfback Tate McDermott, who has been moved out of his regular starting role for the top-of-the-table clash.
The Rebels also welcome back a Wallaby into their side with Isi Naisarani to start at number 8, but it’s not all good news for their international contingent with captain Dane Haylett-Petty ruled out. Reece Hodge has been shifted to fullback to cover the skipper’s absence, Andrew Kellaway will start at outside centre and Tom Pincus will make his debut out wide.
Those aren’t the only changes made by Dave Wessels, with Matt Philip and Pone Fa’amausili sent to the bench for Esei Ha’angana and Jermaine Ainsley respectively, while Brad Wilkin is set to play his first Super Rugby game in over a year from the pine.
The Rebels’ Round 5 opponents, the Western Force, have rejigged their backline for Friday night’s encounter. Regular captain Ian Prior is back at halfback, forcing Nick Frisby onto the bench, and Tim Sampson has opted for a new midfield pairing, naming Kyle Godwin at 13 and Richard Kahui at 12.
Prop Pek Cowan, who was playing for the Force when they were axed in 2017, will make his first Super Rugby AU appearance after being named in the reserves.
While the Reds have welcomed back Petaia for their meeting with the Brumbies, starting prop Harry Hoopert has been ruled out with an injury expected to sideline him for a month.
There’s better news for lock Angus Blyth, who’s overcome a shoulder injury to line up in the second row in a move that pushes Angus Scott-Young back to the back row and Fraser McReight to the bench.
The Brumbies are the most stable of the four sides in action this weekend, making just one change to their starting XV: Darcy Swain returns to the run-one second row, while Tom Cusack and Tom Ross have been added to the bench.
Friday, 7:05pm, Leichhardt Oval
1. Chris Heiberg, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Fergus Lee-Warner, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Tevin Ferris, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Ian Prior (c), 10. Jono Lance, 11. Marcel Brache, 12. Richard Kahui, 13. Kyle Godwin, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jack McGregor
Bench: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Pek Cowan, 18. Tom Sheminant, 19. Johan Bardoul, 20. Ollie Callan, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Henry Taefu, 23. Brad Lacey
1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 4. Esei Ha’angana, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Michael Wells, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Ryan Louwrens, 10. Matt To’omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Billy Meakes, 13. Andrew Kellaway, 14. Tom Pincus, 15. Reece Hodge
Bench: 16. Efi Ma’afu, 17. Cabous Elouff, 18. Pone Fa’amausili, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Rob Leota, 21. Brad Wilkin, 22. Frank Lomani, 23. Andrew Deegan
Saturday, 7:15pm, GIO Stadium
1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Bayley Kuenzle, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks
Bench: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. James Slipper, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Cusack, 20. Lachlan McCaffrey, 21. Issak Fines, 22. Mack Hansen, 23. Andy Muirhead
1. Dane Zander, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Scott Malolua, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15. Jock Campbell
Bench: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Feao Fotuaika, 18. Jack Straker, 19. Ryan Smith, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Jordan Petaia