Experienced trio return for Rebels

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Experienced trio Colby Fainga’a, Mike Harris and Lopeti Timani have been named in the Rebels' starting XV for Friday's clash with the Brumbies in Melbourne.

The return of the trio is a boost for the Rebels heading into the local derby with top spot on the Australian Conference ladder on the line.

Harris returns to full-back for the first time since he suffered a quad injury in the Rebels opening round game against the Force in Perth.

After two appearances off the bench, including a try against the Blues before the bye, Fainga’a has been recalled to the starting 15 for the first time since he injured his elbow against the Force in the opening round.

Timani has recovered from a quad injury to be selected in the run-on team after the 25-year-old missed the game against the Blues in Auckland.

“We’ll be calling on all our experience on Friday night against the Brumbies so it’s great to welcome back Colby, Mike and Lopeti back in the starting 15,” said Rebels head coach Tony McGahan.

“It’s exciting for the club to still be in the conversation at this point of the season but we’re under no illusion about the importance of this game so we need to back ourselves and our abilities for this opportunity.”

The Rebels bench has received a boost as well with Tom English named as a reserve after a knee injury sidelined the winger since the team’s fifth round loss to the Highlanders at AAMI Park.

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (c), 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Colby Fainga’a, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Tom English, 23 Kotaro Matsushima

Date: Friday, May 13
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19:40 local (09:40 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Referees: Will Houston, Michael Hogan
TMO: Ian Smith