SPORTS

Rebels Turn To Fijian Speedsters

  Fijian speedsters Marika Koroibete and Sefa Naivalu start for Melbourne Rebels when they take on Sharks tonight. Rebels coach Dave Wessels said they are part of the seven changes
23 Mar 2018 10:47
Rebels Turn To Fijian Speedsters
Melbourne Rebels rugby league convert Marika Koroibete Photo: Zimbio

 

Fijian speedsters Marika Koroibete and Sefa Naivalu start for Melbourne Rebels when they take on Sharks tonight.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels said they are part of the seven changes to his starting line-up.

“Sefa (Naivalu) and Marika (Koroibete) give us some genuine speed out wide,” he said.

Wessels has named lock Geoff Parling, flank Colby Fainga’a and centre Billy Meakes for their first starts of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

“The Sharks are a big and strong physical pack so we’ve added freshness and experience to our starting line-up with Geoff (Parling), Colby (Fainga’a) and Gus (Cottrell).

“We were pleased with Billy’s work rate and intensity off the bench last week as an early substitute for Dane so he’s earned the opportunity to start.”

 

BOUNCE BACK

The Rebels are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they host the Sharks at AAMI Park for the first time since 2014.

Dane Haylett-Petty and Ben Daley were unavailable for selection after the pair failed to meet the minimum return to play concussion protocols due to the short five-day turnaround following the loss to the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.

The injuries have forced a shuffle to the backline with the Fijian flyers Naivalu and Koroibete to occupy the wings in tandem for the first time this season while Jack Maddocks has been shifted to fullback.

 

MAKING IT RIGHT

Meakes will start at inside centre, alongside Reece Hodge, after he impressed in his early introduction off the bench on Sunday after Haylett-Petty suffered a head knock in the opening 15 minutes against the Waratahs.

“We’ve played some really good rugby this year and I think we’re happy with where the team is at,” Wessels told Sport24 .

“Our job is to go out there and focus on our equivalent of running a 9.9 second 100m race. If a team comes along and runs a 9.8 second then they deserve to win. But our focus is on producing our best performance consistently. We didn’t do that on Sunday, but Friday gives us the opportunity to put that right.”

The clash kicks-off at 8.45pm (Fijian time) at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne

 

LINE-UP

Rebels- 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner

Replacement 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Tom English

Edited by Osea Bola

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