Blues v Melbourne Rebels - Super Rugby match preview

Last Updated: 10/05/13 5:44am

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Blues boss Sir John Kirwan has opted to rotate his squad for the visit of the Rebels on Saturday.

Culum Retallick and Tom McCartney are both rested, while Luke Braid starts on the bench.

That means lock Anthony Boric, prop Tim Perry and flanker Brendon O'Connor are all handed starts.

The other changes to the line-up sees hooker Quentin MacDonald and winger George Moala replace injured duo Keven Mealamu and Jackson Willison.

Debut

Japan hooker Shota Horie has been handed his first start by the Rebels for the trip to Eden Park.

Horie has previously made an impact off the bench, however he is one of two changes made by coach Damien Hill.

Lachie Mitchell also comes into the starting XV with Rory Sidey having been sidelined with an injury.

With Kurtley Beale stood down for his latest indiscretion, Angus Roberts is promoted to the bench, while Bryce Hegarty is set to make his debut for the club

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements:16 Gafatasi Su'a, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Luke Braid, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Lolagi Visinia.

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

What they said...

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan

"This Rebels side is a very good side.

"They have been unlucky but they come over here with confidence and they'd be hoping that we're underestimating them.

"That won't be happening."

Rebels hooker Shota Horie

"I am very honoured to be representing Melbourne on Saturday, and I hope I can make all our supporters and country proud."

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