Super Rugby Pacific: Trevor Hosea to start for Melbourne Rebels against Hurricanes
Trevor Hosea will make his first start of the season for the Melbourne Rebels when they take on the Hurricanes in Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash at AAMI Park.
The 23-year-old will pack down alongside Josh Canham in the second-row on the opening day of the Super Round in Melbourne.
Missed 2022 tournament through injury
After missing the entire 2022 Super Rugby Pacific campaign, Hosea returned to action off the replacements bench in the Rebels‘ clash with the Western Force last weekend and is keen to recapture the form that saw him earn a call-up to the Wallabies’ squad in 2020.
After losing their season opener to the Force, Rebels head coach Kevin Foote and his charges are determined to bounce back on their home turf.
“We can’t wait to play our first game at home, during a special week for Melbourne,” said Foote via SEN.
“We’ve selected a side balanced with exciting young talent and international experience. Having guys like Trevor Hosea and Josh Kemeny return, guys who are young and just going to grow, is huge.”
Hosea’s promotion to the run-on side means Tuaina Taii Tualima shifts to the blindside flank, with Josh Kemeny dropping down to the bench.
In the front-row, Wallabies loosehead prop Matt Gibbon is set to make his 50th appearance for the Rebels and he packs down along side Alex Mafi (hooker) and Sam Talakai (tighthead).
They face a Hurricanes pack full of All Blacks experience and Gibbon expects a tough battle up front against the likes of Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles and Ardie Savea.
“Their forwards are incredibly strong and we’re really looking forward to this one,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“I don’t think I’ve actually ever beaten the Hurricanes since I’ve been at the Rebels so I’ve got 50 caps this weekend and it would be lovely to get one up on those boys.
“I’m excited to see how we go against their forward and across that backline (but) we definitely have some things to fix up on the weekend.”
In the backline, Joe Pincus is set to make his Rebels debut at full-back in a back three alongside flyers Lachie Anderson and Monty Ioane.
Determined to improve
Gibbon is hoping to mark his 50th Super Rugby appearance with a win and is confident they will deliver an improved performance after ‘blowing out the cobwebs’ against the Western Force in their tournament opener.
“That first game is always tough, you’re always going to have to blow out the cobwebs because it’s unlike any trial,” he said.
“There were a few things that we were happy with how they worked but at the end of the game, we really started to fall off our tackles and structure.
“There were a few times in that second half where you could see our attack and defence lighting up which brings us a lot of confidence. We just have to nail it this week.”
Rebels: 15 Joe Pincus, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Stacey Ili, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brad Wilkin (c), 6 Tuiana Taii Tualima, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Matt Gibbon
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Angelo Smith, 20 Josh Kemeny, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Lukas Ripley, 23 Nick Jooste
Date: Friday, March 3
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 20:10 local (09:10 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific: Freddie Burns gets his first start against the Crusaders in the Super Round
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