In­juries spark ex­ten­sive reshuf­fle for Rebels

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

THE dis­as­trous loss of full­back Mark Ger­rard has trig­gered a ma­jor reshuf­fle of the Mel­bourne Rebels’ back­line for to­mor­row night’s Su­per Rugby clash with Queens­land.

Ger­rard’s four-week shoul­der in­jury has seen Rebels coach Rod Mac­queen move four of his backs, in­clud­ing Ju­lian Hux­ley from the cen­tres to full­back and cap­tain Stir­ling Mort­lock closer to the ac­tion at in­side cen­tre.

Fi­esty winger Lachlan Mitchell will form a new cen­tre com­bi­na­tion with 80-Test vet­eran Mort­lock and Afusipa Tau­moe­peau has been pro­moted from the bench for his first start.

Big-kick­ing for­mer Wal­la­bies winger Ger­rard, Mel­bourne’s best player in his three ap­pear­ances since re­turn­ing from a stint in Ja­pan, isn’t the only key Rebel to miss the Sun­corp Sta­dium clash.

Michael Lip­man, dis­play­ing the form which saw him capped 11 times for Eng­land, was un­able to re­cover in time from an an­kle strain and has been re­placed by for­mer Auck­land Blues back-rower Tom Cham­ber­lain.

They join a lengthy in­jury list, in­clud­ing Kevin O’Neill, Adam Freier, Sam Cordingley, Hoani Mac­don­ald and James Hil­gen­dorf.

But there was some wel­come good news with in-form Welsh No. 8 Gareth Delve ( knee) and lock Al Camp­bell ( shoul­der) over­com­ing knocks sus­tained in the 34-32 loss to the Sharks.

Mac­queen over­looked for­mer Pen­rith league flyer Luke Rooney to choose for­mer Reds and Brumbies util­ity Hux­ley at full­back. Hux­ley had formed a good play­mak­ing com­bi­na­tion with English five-eighth Danny Cipri­ani but his move to No. 15 should see the Rebels take a more di­rect at­tack­ing ap­proach with Mort­lock at in­side cen­tre.

Rod Mac­queen

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