Gerrard back to boost Rebels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gerrard back to boost Rebels

By Melissa Woods 31/03/2011 01:51:12 PM Comments (0)

Mark Gerrard is back at fullback to bolster the Melbourne Rebels for their Super Rugby clash with the Western Force on Saturday night.

Former Wallaby Gerrard was one of the Rebels' form players in the early rounds and his earlier-than-expected return from a shoulder injury is a big boost for the competition newcomers.

His big kicking game and astute running take some of the pressure off playmaker Danny Cipriani.

Versatile former Australian Sevens halfback Richard Kingi moves from fullback to wing to replace injured star Cooper Vuna.

The Rebels' lineout will also be strengthened with lock Kevin O'Neil back from a calf muscle injury, while Nic Henderson is back to replace Rodney Blake at loose head prop.

That's a tough call for Blake after his low-driving try kickstarted the Rebels stunning comeback to crush the visiting Hurricanes last week.

The clash with the Force should provide a mighty backrow battle, with the Rebels trio of internationals Gareth Delve and Michael Lipman and league recruit Jarrod Saffy very impressive so far.

They're likely to come up against the all-Wallaby trio of Richard Brown, Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman.

Melbourne Rebels: Mark Gerrard, Richard Kingi, Lachlan Mitchell, Stirling Mortlock (Capt), Luke Rooney, Danny Cipriani, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Michael Lipman, Jarrod Saffy, Kevin O'Neill, Alistair Campbell, Greg Somerville, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Res: Luke Holmes, Laurie Weeks, Hugh Pyle, Tim Davidson, Sam Cordingley, Peter Betham, Afusipa Taumoepeau.

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