Melbourne Rebels star Matt To’omua will make his return from injury this weekend as the Rebels travel to Wellington for their crucial clash against the Hurricanes in Round 14 of the Super Rugby Pacific season.
To’omua’s inclusion brings 178 games worth of Test and Super Rugby experience into the Rebels Match Day 23 and is one of four changes to last weekend’s Starting XV which came within seconds of a stunning upset over the Chiefs at AAMI Park.
Tamati Ioane has been named at 8 for the fourth time this season, with Rob Leota shifting back to right lock, replacing the injured Josh Hill.
The returning To’omua will pair with Andrew Kellaway at centre for the first time this year. Kellaway was one of the Rebels best last week, scoring his second try of the season along with running for 42 metres from 9 runs.
Meanwhile the experienced trio of James Hanson, Cameron Orr and Cabous Eloff will again provide front-row reinforcement, with Josh Canham, Richard Hardwick, Joe Powell, Lukas Ripley, and Nick Jooste completing this weekend’s side, as the Rebels chase their first win at Sky Stadium in Club history.
With the eighth finals spot still up for grabs, Saturday night’s clash looms as a must-win for an attacking Rebels outfit that has now scored a combined seven tries over past two matches.
Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Kevin Foote said his side was excited for this weekend’s opportunity in Wellington.
“We showed great character last weekend,” said Foote.
“Our young players like Carter Gordon, Josh Hill, and Lukas Ripley continue to grow every game and the leadership from our senior guys such as Michael Wells, Matt Philip, Reece Hodge, and Andrew Kellaway has been excellent.
“This week’s focus is on redemption, so we’re hungry to put forward the best version of ourselves and play the brand of Rebels rugby we know we’re capable of and that our fans expect.
“We’ve had a strong week on the track, and everyone is just really excited for the opportunity on Saturday night.”
The Melbourne Rebels travel to New Zealand for the second and final time this season, facing the Hurricane’s at Sky Stadium on Saturday May 21 at 5:05 PM AEST. The match can be seen ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sports.