Coach David Wessels has made four changes to his match day 23 ahead of the Club’s game against the Stormers on Friday night.
Prop Sam Talakai, hooker Robbie Abel and lock Ross Haylett-Petty have all been included in the starting forward pack, while Richard Hardwick will return to the squad as a replacement.
Wallabies winger Jack Maddocks and hooker Anaru Rangi have not been considered for selection due to suffering knee tendonitis and a rolled ankle respectively after the Rebels’ win over the Sunwolves.
Lock Matt Philip has also been sidelined with a bruised heel, while promising prop Pone Fa’amausili has been left out to face the Cape Town side.
When quizzed about his star winger’s injury, Melbourne Head Coach Dave Wessels says the decision to rest Maddocks was made less difficult given the minor nature of the injury and by also having a ready-made replacement in fellow outside back Tupou.
“Jack’s got a bit of a grumbly knee with tendonitis in his patella, so we’ll just settle that down and he’ll be right to go next week,” Wessels said.
“Those decisions are made a lot easier when a guy like Semisi (Tupou) trains as well as he does and also plays well in the minutes he got against the Sunwolves, so he’s an exciting young prospect for us (and) we’re excited to see what Semisi brings.”
The Melburnians will go into the match with star centre Billy Meakes, after the number 12 was cleared by the SANZAAR judicial committee after being cited for a hit on Sunwolves centre Jason Emery.
Wessels says Meakes’ clearance will help continue the backs combination which has helped the Melburnians sit atop of the Australian Conference.
“Bill’s a good organiser for us in that partnership between him, Quade (Cooper) and Tom English, which has really worked well and they’ve started to play off each other,” Wessels said.
“So we’re really pleased to be able to keep that combination going.”
Rebels Match Day 23 v Stormers, Friday 12 April, kick off 7:45pm (EST)
Ins: Sam Talakai, Semisi Tupou, Robbie Abel, Richard Hardwick
Outs: Jack Maddocks, Anaru Rangi, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip
1. Tetera Faulkner
2. Robbie Abel
3. Sam Talakai
4. Ross Haylett-Petty
5. Adam Coleman
6. Luke Jones
7. Angus Cottrell
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Billy Meakes
13. Tom English
14. Semisi Tupou
15. Reece Hodge
16. Hugh Roach
17. Matt Gibbon
18. Jermaine Ainsley
19. Esei Ha’angana
20. Rob Leota
21. Richard Hardwick
22. Michael Ruru
23. Campbell Magnay