Super Rugby match preview: Western Force v Rebels

Last Updated: 06/04/13 11:32am

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Melbourne Rebels travel to Perth for their clash with the Western Force on Saturday boosted by the return of winger Cooper Vuna.

Vuna was handed a one-match ban following a dispute with team-mate Kurtley Beale on the side's recent tour of South Africa.

The 25-year-old is included on coach Damien Hill's bench with the Rebels looking to avoid a sixth successive defeat in the 2013 Super Rugby campaign.

Captain Gareth Delve and centre Lachlan Mitchell are both unavailable through injury leaving Scott Higginbotham to lead the side out while Rory Sidey comes into the starting XV.

Lock Cadeyrn Neville has also been included in Hill's starting line-up while Scott Fuglistaller returns to the pack at the expense of Jordy Reid.

Western Force will be without scrum-half Chris Eaton who has returned to New Zealand following the tragic death of his wife in a car incident earlier this week.

Michael Foley is not expected to make many more changes to the Force side which suffered a 23-19 defeat at the hands of the Waratahs last time out.

South African fly-half Sias Ebersohn looks set to retain his place in the side after scoring 14 points for the Force last weekend.

Foley's Force will look to quash their recent record against the Rebels having lost four of their last five encounters against the Melbourne side.

Force (probable): 15 Alfi Mafi, 14 Pat Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Junior Rasolea, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Hugh McMeninam, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Maafu, 2 Heath Tessman, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Keiran Longbottom, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Michael Snowden, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Sam Norton-Knight.

Rebels: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (capt), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Jarrod Saffy, 19 Jordy Reid, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Tom English, 22 Cooper Vuna.

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