In what promises to be one of the biggest ever weekends of rugby in Melbourne, Victorian lock Trevor Hosea has been named to make his starting debut for Friday night’s Super Round blockbuster against a red-hot Hurricanes side.
Hosea will pair with the emerging Josh Canham, forming an all-Victorian second row, as the Rebels look to respond from last weekend’s second-half fadeout against the Western Force in Perth.
Hosea’s promotion is one of three adjustments to last weekend's Starting XV, with Tuaina Taii Tualima shifting to blindside flanker, while Joe Pincus looks set to make his Super Rugby debut, named at fullback.
Pincus has hit the ground running in his second season in Melbourne, after an impressive pre-season saw the twenty-six-year-old star in a number of the Club’s trials, including this month’s clash against the Brumbies in Wagga Wagga, where Pincus ran through a pair of tries.
The 2020 Olympian is one of two debutants for the Rebels 2023 home opener, joined by Angelo Smith.
Smith arrived at the Rebels at the beginning of last year’s off-season, following a successful Hospital Cup campaign playing alongside eight Melbourne Rebels in Wests’ drought breaking premiership campaign, as part of the Rebels off-season strategy to strengthen on-field connection through TWI.
Impressive performances against the Brumbies, Victorian Axemen, Hanazono Kintetsu Liners and the Fijian Drua helped the Fijian lock stake his claim for a Super Rugby berth.
Speaking to SEN’s Gerard Whateley earlier today, Rebels Head Coach, Kevin Foote, said his players couldn’t wait to rip in for Friday night’s challenge.
“We can’t wait to play our first game at home, during a special week for Melbourne,” said Foote.
“We’ve selected a side balanced with exciting young talent and international experience. Having guys like Trevor Hosea and Josh Kemeny return, guys who are young and just going to grow, is huge.
“Playing the Hurricanes, the first Kiwi team for the season, will be a great challenge for our group. We were bitterly disappointed with Round 1’s result, so we’re excited for another opportunity to get into it this week.
“We want to play a brand of rugby that is fast, fearless and resolute. Something that represents the energy of Melbourne, and a brand that will make Melburnians proud of the Rebels.”
Meanwhile, fan favorite Cameron Orr returns for his first match of 2023, adding extra depth to an already imposing Rebels pack of Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi, Sam Talakai, Pone Fa’amausili and Jordan Uelese.
Orr will be joined by Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Lukas Ripley and Nick Jooste to complete the Match Day 23, as the Rebels chase their opening win of the 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season.
The Rebels will kick-off this years’ Super Round Melbourne alongside the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders on opening night.
In its return, Super Round Melbourne will see all 12 Super Rugby Pacific teams descend on The Sporting Captial for the first time in competition history. The three-day festival will be more than just about rugby, with additional fan engagement experiences, food offerings, entertainment and music to be held for all to enjoy.
Patrons will also get the opportunity to celebrate Pasifika culture on Saturday, with Rugby Victoria hosting a Pasifika Festival Super Round at 12 pm on Gosch’s Paddock which will include games, kid's clinics, food trucks, player appearances and island dancers.
The Melbourne Rebels face the Hurricanes in Round 2 of the Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific competition. The clash kicks off at 8:10 pm AEDT on Friday March 3 at AAMI Park. The match can be seen ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sports.
Melbourne Rebels Match Day 23 for Friday night's clash against the Hurricanes.
1. Matt Gibbon
2. Alex Mafi
3. Sam Talakai
4. Josh Canham
5. Trevor Hosea
6. Tuiana Taii Tualima
7. Brad Wilkin (C)
8. Richard Hardwick
9. Ryan Louwrens
10. Carter Gordon
11. Monty Ioane
12. Stacey Ili
13. Reece Hodge (VC)
14. Lachie Anderson
15. Joe Pincus
16. Jordan Uelese
17. Cameron Orr
18. Pone Fa’amausili
19. Angelo Smith
20. Josh Kemeny
21. James Tuttle
22. Lukas Ripley
23. Nick Jooste