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Thread: Super Rugby AU finals teams announced: Rebels regain troops for Reds SF

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Super Rugby AU finals teams announced: Rebels regain troops for Reds SF

    by Christy Doran

    Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels says his side have always been the "underdogs" and they're happy to scrap their way to the final as they take on the Queensland Reds in the preliminary final on Saturday in Brisbane.

    The Rebels have been bolstered by the returns of Andrew Kellaway and Campbell Magnay, while they've tweaked their forward pack.

    Reds coach Brad Thorn has named an unchanged starting side but has made a couple of changes to his bench.

    It's the first time since 2012 that the Reds will host a final and Suncorp Stadium will allow 26,500 people through the gates to watch the match. The winner will take on the Brumbies in the final a week later in Canberra on September 19.

    Queensland Reds v Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Kick-off: 7:15pm AEST, Saturday 12 September.

    In a boost for the Reds, Thorn has named an unchanged XV from the side that beat the Brumbies 26-7 at home last weekend.

    Tight-head prop Taniela Tupou once again headlines the tight-five, with the imposing front-rower drawing plenty of debate from the Brumbies and Rebels in recent days about his scrummaging.

    Thorn has once again selected Fraser McReight at openside flanker, meaning captain Liam Wright will play on the other flank.

    It's a tactic that has worked well for the Reds, with the dual opensides causing plenty of headaches for oppositions and allowing quick ball for the Reds.

    Tate McDermott and James O'Connor are the halves, while Jordan Petaia will once again play at outside centre after returning to the jersey he wore for the Wallabies during their quarter-final loss to England at last year's World Cup.

    There's just a couple of changes on the bench, with Alex Mafi returning at hooker.

    It will be Mafi and second-rower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto's 50th Super Rugby matches.

    Mafi was on Dave Rennie's Players of National Interest list before injury saw him fall off that list last month.

    The final change is Jack Stracker coming in for Ruan Smith, who fell sick earlier in the week.

    Meanwhile, Rebels coach Wessels has made three changes to his starting side.

    Up front, the return of Brad Wilkin is the only change to the pack.

    Wilkin's return at blindside flanker sees Michael Wells drop out of the side.

    James Tuttle's hamstring injury sees Fijian international Frank Lomani return at halfback.

    The final change is out wide with Andrew Kellaway returning on the right wing for Tim Pincus who drops out of the squad.

    On the bench, back-rower Rob Leota, halfback Theo Strang and utility back Campbell Magnay return.


    REDS (1-15): Harry Hoopert, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright (c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O'Connor, Filpo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Jordan Petaia, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Jock Campbell

    Reserves: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Jack Straker, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Angus Scott-Young, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Hunter Paisami

    Ins: Alex Mafi, Jack Straker

    Outs: Josh Nasser, Ruan Smith

    REBELS (1-15): Cameron Orr, Jordan Uelese, Jermaine Ainsley, Matt Philip, Trevor Hosea, Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick, Isi Naisarani, Frank Lomani, Matt To'omua, Marika Koroibete, Bill Meakes, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Dane Haylett-Petty (c)

    Reserves: Efitusi Ma'afu, Cabous Eloff, Matt Gibbon, Michael Stolberg, Rob Leota, Theo Strang, Andrew Deegan, Campbell Magney

    Ins: Andrew Kellaway, Rob Leota, Theo Strang, Campbell Magnay

    Outs: Michael Wells, James Tuttle, Tom Pincus, Lachie Anderson

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