Super Rugby: Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies preview

Last Updated: 27/03/14 3:18pm

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Rebels boss Tony McGahan has rung the changes as he hopes his side can end a three-match losing run when they host the Brumbies on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

A home loss to the Crusaders has been sandwiched in between away defeats to Western Force and Waratahs for the Melbourne franchise, who currently prop up the rest in the Australian Conference.

Their task gets no easier as they host the high-flying Brumbies at AAMI Park in round seven of the season.

McGahan has opted to select an entirely new front row, bringing in props Max Lahiff, who will make his first start on home soil, and Laurie Weeks, along with hooker Pat Leafa.

Scrum-half Nic Stirzaker, who this week committed to the club until the end of the 2015 season, has returned from an ankle injury and replaces Ben Meehan in the squad, with Luke Burgess relegated to the bench.

Trained strongly

"Nic has worked hard, and it's unfortunate that we have been denied his presence thus far," McGahan said.

"He has trained strongly for two weeks, had some good game time on the weekend in the Dewar Shield and now he comes in to help us with our mindset and our general play in attack."

Jason Woodward has overcome a bruised knee to return after missing one week and is named to start as full-back, while Tom Kingston takes over on the wing after a knee injury ended Lachlan Mitchell's season.

The Brumbies have made just one switch from the line-up that started the victory over the Stormers in the previous round of fixtures.

Tevita Kuridrani has been named at outside centre after a week off for personal reasons, so Andrew Smith drops to the bench.

Also among the list of replacements for the visitors is the name of Christian Lealiifano, who could get the chance to make his first appearance of the season after five months of rehabilitation after undergoing surgery.

The Brumbies have won five of six encounters between the two teams, with the Rebels' only win over their Canberra-based opponents coming the first time the teams met in round two of 2011.

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (capt), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Max Lahiff

Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emilie, 18 Cruze Ah-Nau, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Male Sa'u, 23 Angus Roberts

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (capt), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 JP Smith

Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Christian Lealiifano

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