The Melbourne Rebels have selected their final Match Day 23 for this year’s inaugural Super Rugby Pacific competition.
The Rebels will enter Sunday afternoon’s clash determined to finish the season on a high note as the Club chases its second win over New Zealand opposition this year.
The home side will come up against a hungry Highlanders team looking to lock in the eighth and final spot in this year’s finals, following their surprise 12-point defeat to the Waratahs last Sunday.
Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Kevin Foote, has made three changes to last weekend’s starting XV, which scored three tries against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Victorian product, Josh Canham, looks set to make his sixth start of his young Super Rugby career, pairing with Wallabies’ star Matt Philip in the second row, with Rob Leota replacing the injured Tamati Ioane in the backrow.
Lukas Ripley has been selected for his fourth start in just his first Super Rugby season following last weekend’s breakout performance in which the electrifying twenty-year-old became the first Rebel to score a hat-trick since Reece Hodge back in 2019.
Ripley joins Glen Vaihu on the wing while Reece Hodge will play at fullback for the 13th time this season.
The experienced Ross Haylett-Petty looks set to play his first game since the Rebels’ Round 4 clash against the Brumbies, named on the bench alongside James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Cabous Eloff and Richard Hardwick.
Joe Powell will be called upon as the backup No.9 in what will be his 100th Super Rugby match, with George Worth and the returning Nick Jooste completing the Rebels 23-man squad.
Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Kevin Foote said his side was focused on finishing the season strong.
“It’s a big week for our Club, celebrating our wonderful rugby community and Joe Powell, who will play his 100th Super Rugby game, which is just an awesome achievement,” said Foote.
“We’re also excited to welcome someone of Ross Haylett-Petty’s character and experience back into the side. Ross is a talented and hardworking player and I have no doubt he’ll contribute and do his job well on Sunday.”
The Rebels’ final home game of the 2022 season shapes as a memorable afternoon, with the Club using the Round 15 fixture to pay tribute to its fans and the wider Victorian rugby community for their ongoing support.
The Rebels will hold pre- and post-game activities, including a sausage sizzle, player signings, prizes and giveaways and the first post-game kick-to-kick on AAMI Park in over six years, where fans can meet the players and grab photos.
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The Melbourne Rebels face the Highlanders in Round 15 of the Super Rugby Pacific season, kicking off at 2:05 PM (AEDT). The match will be shown ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sports.