Jordan Uelese will be on the bench for his must-win Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday. Hooker Uelese is expected to make his first appearance of the season since a knee rebuild nearly a year ago. He will face a Sunwolves team made up of former Australian Super Rugby teammate and player of the year, Amanaki Mafi.
The Rebels again resisted the start of fifth-place rookie Matt Toomua, while test blocker Adam Coleman overcame a shoulder injury to be named in the starting group. Rugby fans are waiting for thrilling performances in RWC. Now you can book online tickets for Rugby World Cup to support your favourite players.
Although resting Anaru Rangi flat, Melbourne coach Dave Wessels said he was not planning on leaving Uelese, with the former Waratah Hugh Roach getting wearing the No 2 jersey.
“I think Jordie needs to find his way back into the team,” said Wessels.
I think Roachie and Anaru have played well and it would not be normal for a guy to jump at them until he has the opportunity to win this place.
“But to prove Jordie right, he’s in the best physical shape I’ve ever seen, so I can not wait to see what he’s going to bring.”
Wessels said Coleman was also in great shape, after focusing on his conditioning in the suspended season, and hoped he would bring a presence.
The last time the teams met the Rebels won 45-10, but Wessels predicted a tougher test in Tokyo with the explosive Mafi bearer in the basket.
The No 8 left the Rebels out of favour at the end of last season, accused of assaulting a teammate after their last game in New Zealand.
He did not play when the Sunwolves were beaten 33-0 by the Brumbies on their last outing before they left.
With four rounds to play, including games against reigning champions Crusaders and Waratahs, the Rebels must win against the modest Sunwolves to secure a first-place finish.
Wessels said it would be naïve to think his players did not do the math, but all they had to think about was winning.
We have not talked about it but the reality is that we have to do our job.
“It’s such a fun competition that everyone kills it and there’s a lot of rugby to play so you can only control your own performance.”
Rebels: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Richard Hardwick, Angus Cottrell, Ross Haylett-Petty, Adam Coleman, Matt Philip, Sam Talakai, Hugh Roach, Matt Gibbon. Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Tetera Faulkner, Jermaine Ainsley, Sam Jeffries, Rob Leota, Michael Ruru, Matt Toomua, Tom English.
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