The Queensland Reds have named their team to play the Melbourne Rebels in their Super Rugby opener at AAMI Park in Melbourne this Friday.
The starting side features two changes from the XV which took on Fiji Warriors in the Reds’ final pre-season match at Ballymore last week.
The Reds have welcomed lock Izack Rodda (shoulder) and winger Eto Nabuli (wrist) back from injury and into the starting team.
Rodda has earned a starting spot ahead of Kane Douglas, who shifts to the bench, while Nabuli returns in place of Izaia Perese, who suffered a knee injury in the match against the Warriors.
The match will also see former National Rugby Championship representative Brandon Paenga-Amosa make his Queensland and Super Rugby debut as the side’s starting hooker.
The Reds have also named three potential Super Rugby debutants on the bench in flanker Liam Wright, scrumhalf Tate McDermott and winger Filipo Daugunu. While JP Smith is in line to make his Queensland debut, having previously represented the Brumbies in Super Rugby.
The Melbourne Rebels have named their team for the opening game of the 2018 Super Rugby season against the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
Rebels Head Coach Dave Wessels has named 10 international Test players in his starting line-up, including nine current Wallabies and a Japanese international.
After a back injury sidelined him from pre-season trials, new recruit Will Genia will make his much-anticipated first appearance alongside experienced flyhalf Jack Debreczeni.
Victorian prop Tetera Faulkner will run out in front of family and friends for the first time in a Rebels jersey.
Captain Adam Coleman and Matt Philip have been paired in an international second row while Wallaby and Japanese representatives Lopeti Timani and Amanaki Mafi, have been included in the back row.
Experienced Rebels Reece Hodge and Tom English will partner in the centres while Wallaby flyer Sefa Naivalu and young gun Jack Maddocks will start on the wings. Experienced fullback Dane Haylett-Petty completes the starting back three.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 5Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Semisi Tupou, 23 Billy Meakes
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Filipo Daugunu
Date: Friday, February 23
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:45 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
Television match official: Ian Smith (Australia)