The RaboDirect Rebels have named Kurtley Beale at flyhalf for their final trial match against the Hurricanes at Simonds Stadium in Geelong.
In a much anticipated return, Kurtley will suit up for the Rebels in what is poised to be the biggest year in the history of Rugby Union in the state of Victoria.
Head coach Damien Hill was upbeat about Kurtley’s return, but saw the importance of other selections as a vital part of this week’s trial.
“Kurtley just wants to play. He was very keen to do so in Tasmania, and he has done extremely well to put himself in the best physical condition for his teammates for this 2013 season.
“There are so are many positions on the line we will need to assess before we announce the run on side for the Western Force match in February.
“There are very few positions that are currently locked away. Many players who weren’t seen as starters in 2012 are very close with the offseason they have had and the form they showed against the Waratahs last week.
“There has been very honest feedback over the last week, the players need to build on their performance against the Waratahs.” said Hill.
The second row is one area in particular where the Rebels are rich in talent, with Luke Jones’ trial form, the professional development of Cadeyrn Neville and Hugh Pyle, and the experience of both Chris Thomson and James King, who has returned from injury in the best shape of his career.
“Luke has done well to force himself in the starting team for this trial. He will partner Hugh and Cadeyrn, but that is a combination the coaching team are continually monitoring.
“Then add James King and Chris, it is a very tough decision to make, which is why this trial is such an important one for the Club.”
Backrow is another selection dilemma for the Rebels’ coach, with Scott Higginbotham still unavailable due to injury.
The Club’s marquee recruit has still not fully recovered from a shoulder injury he sustained in Cardiff in the Wallabies epic victory on their Spring Tour.
“Scott is not there yet, although he is close. Backrow is another area where we will have to make some tough decisions, we won’t know how that dynamic will look until the end of the match. It is difficult to single players out, as all have done everything right to be selected for this Club,” said Hill.
RaboDirect Rebels v the Wellington Hurricanes, 5.30pm Simonds Stadium, Geelong.
1. Nic Henderson
2. Ged Robisnon
3. Laurie Weeks
4. Hugh Pyle
5. Cadeyrn Neville
6. Luke Jones
7. Scott Fuglistaller
8. Gareth Delve
9. Nick Phipps
10. Kurtley Beale
11. Lachlan Mitchell
12. Rory Sidey
13. Mitch Inman
14. Alex Rokobaro
15. James O’Connor
16. Shota Horie/Pat Leafa
17. Eddie Aholelei/Paul Alo-Emile
18. James King/Chris Thomson
19. Trent Dyer/Jordy Reid/Jarrod Saffy
20. Richard Kingi/Nic Stirzaker
21. Angus Roberts/Tom English
22. Kemu Valetini