The Melbourne Rebels have selected their squad for the opening pre-season trial of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.
The Rebels will face the Fijian Drua in Fiji for the first time in Rebels' history, as part of the two Club's agreement to host the other over the past 12 months.
Rebels Head Coach Kevin Foote has selected a strong side balanced with youth and experience for the exciting first-up encounter.
New recruit Tim Cardall and hooker Alex Mafi will make their first appearance for the Rebels, while seasoned Super Rugby campaigners Cabous Eloff, Richard Hardwick and James Tuttle have also been named.
Fijian-born duo Ilikena Vudogo and Angelo Smith will run out in front of their family and friends for the first time, while Joe Pincus and Mason Gordon will look to continue their strong pre-season efforts, named on an extended bench.
After a dream off-season, including three trials, a tour of Japan and a recent contract signing, lock Angelo Smith says he can’t wait to represent the Melbourne Rebels in his home country.
“It’s been a dream of mine to have the opportunity to play Super Rugby and play in Fiji,” said Smith.
“I honestly can’t wait - my whole family is going to come along, so I can’t wait to play in front of them and keep building on the progress we’ve made this pre-season”.
The Rebels will face the Fijian Drua at 3 pm AEDT. Unfortunately, the clash won’t be streamed, but Rebels Media will provide an update on the match result, with highlights to come post-game.