Melbourne Rebels Take on Brumbies in the Capital

Wed, May 22, 2024, 3:55 AM
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

Head Coach Kevin Foote has announced his team to take on the Brumbies in Canberra for Round 14 of Super Rugby Pacific. With the return of Andrew Kellaway at fullback and the impact of Taniela Tupou from the bench, the Rebels have momentum at their backs for the late-season clash. 

Victorian prop Isaac Kailea makes his way back into the starting team, packing down beside Jordan Uelese and Sam Talakai. The Rebels set piece has been the team’s greatest defensive tool, with the pressure at scrum time and challenges at lineout being led by the strong pack. 

Running the engine room, Angelo Smith and Josh Canham have been instrumental alongside their starting and reserve tight forwards. Maintaining his hold on the competition in the lineout, Canham is second for lineout takes in the competition and fourth for steals, but his work without the ball has been as equally impressive. Man-handling opposition, chase-down tackles and general physicality at the breakdown have taken a step up in recent weeks. 

Captain Rob Leota moves into the starting blindside flank position, with Brad Wilkin backing up an exciting performance against the Chiefs with another start at openside. Vaiolini Ekuasi holds his spot at the back of the scrum, after the hard-running back row dominated in contact in the first half. 

Ryan Louwrens maintains his starting spot with Jake Strachan getting his first start at flyhalf, after impressive displays at fullback in previous weeks. 

After being voted the Melbourne Rebels MVP last week by the faithful Rebels fans, Nick Jooste starts again at inside centre with Filipo Daugunu on the outside. Jooste’s back-to-back tough performances in the midfield have proven the Rebel doesn’t shy away from the gritty work, shifting bodies at the breakdown and fronting up at the line with his big frame. 

Darby Lancaster and Glen Vaihu are set to feature in the wide channels, with both wingers known to look for work on the inside when needed, the pair of finishers will be players to watch at GIO Stadium this Friday night. 

Returning to fullback, Andrew Kellaway will provide support in the backfield. Always a threat with ball in hand, the Rebels will look to his experience and vision to connect with his backline teammates. 

Ethan Dobbins sets up as reserve hooker, alongside props Matt Gibbon and Taniela Tupou. Head Coach Kevin Foote will look to unleash the big men in the second half, and their inclusion will be crucial to maintaining pressure on the Brumbies pack. 

Luke Callan is set to debut for the Rebels from the bench this Friday night, with the young lock impressing throughout the season and getting his opportunity alongside Maciu Nabolakasi and Tuaina Taii Tualima. 

Returning to reserve scrumhalf, James Tuttle will bring his energy to the late game, with his pace at the breakdown and communication proving a sound tactic as impact. Mason Gordon returns, with the ability to cover multiple positions from the bench. 

The Melbourne Rebels take on the Brumbies in Round 14 of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, kicking off at 7:35PM AEST, Friday, May 24 at GIO Stadium in Canberra. The match will be shown ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sports.

Starting Team

1. Isaac Kailea

2. Jordan Uelese

3. Sam Talakai 

4. Angelo Smith

5. Josh Canham

6. Rob Leota (c)

7. Brad Wilkin

8. VaioliniI Ekuasi

9. Ryan Louwrens

10. Jake Strachan 

11. Glen Vaihu

12. Nick Jooste

13. Filipo Daugunu

14. Darby Lancaster

15. Andrew Kellaway

Reserves

16. Ethan Dobbins

17. Matt Gibbon

18. Taniela Tupou

19. Luke Callan* 

20. Maciu Nabolakasi

21. Tuaiana Taii Tualima

22. James Tuttle

23. Mason Gordon

*Denotes Melbourne Rebels Debut

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