Super Rugby

Milestones for Rebels duo in Sharks clash

Melbourne -  Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has named his side to face the Sharks in Ballarat on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 05:45 (SA time).

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The clash marks the first time the Rebels will play a home game away from AAMI Park in their 10-year existence.

The Rebels' connection to Ballarat runs deep, with the mining town inspiring the franchise's name, logo and creed.

But the celebrations don't just stop there, with Jermaine Ainsley and Billy Meakes set to bring up their 50th Super Rugby games.  

Ainsley, who signed with the Rebels in 2018, will make his second start of this season, replacing Ruan Smith at tighthead prop.

He will be joined in the front row by newly re-signed prop Matt Gibbon and Steve Misa, who will be making his run-on debut at hooker.  

Meanwhile, it's a big weekend for midfielder Meakes, who plays his 50th Super Rugby game on Saturday, before celebrating his 28th birthday on Sunday.

Matt To'omua and Reece Hodge have both succumbed to groin complaints and will miss the fixture, paving the way for flatmates Andrew Deegan and Andrew Kellaway to slide into the starting XV.

Kellaway scored two tries in the second half during last Friday's win over the Waratahs and is the Rebels' leading try scorer with three in 2020.

Meanwhile, Andrew Deegan comes in for To'omua, marking his first start in Super Rugby.

His selection follows an impressive 2019 campaign with the Western Force in the National Rugby Championship, where the 24-year-old led the competition in points, assists and conversions.   

Tom English will also make his first appearance in the navy blue for 2020, named to start off the bench.

The Rebels stalwart could potentially bring up his 95th cap in Ballarat, drawing him ever closer to becoming the first player to appear 100 times for the Rebels in Super Rugby.

Teams:

Rebels

15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Steven Misa, 1 Matt Gibbon

Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tom English

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

- Melbourne Rebels

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