Cooper Vuna, Gareth Delve back from injury
March 21, 2013
Cooper Vuna is the Rebels' leading tryscorer © Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels have named Cooper Vuna and Jason Woodward as their wingers, relegating Richard Kingi to the bench and Alex Rokobaro out of the squad, as they hope to replicate the Brumbies with a Super Rugby victory over the Sharks.
The Rebels have lost their past three matches, but the unbeaten Brumbies gave them a road map to success in Durban with a 29-10 win over the Sharks in round five, setting up the impressive scoreline with four first-half tries.
Gareth Delve is another much-needed inclusion after his shoulder injury.
Vuna, the Rebels' leading tryscorer in their two years to date, having played played in 29 of a possible 32 Super Rugby games to earn two Wallabies caps, returns to the side after fracturing a shoulder in a warm-up game.
"It's been so frustrating sitting on the bench so I'm really excited to get out there," Vuna said. "I just want to earn the respect of the boys and hopefully help them get a win."
Woodward also hasn't played this season after rupturing a finger tendon during training, but coach Damien Hill is excited to see what he can produce. "Jason's an extremely confident young player," Hill said. "He's got a big left boot, a good turn of speed and he can cover a lot of positions. He really impressed us in the pre-season so everyone's quite excited to see what he brings."
Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale trained strongly with the team but he will sit out the match as he hasn't regained full strength in his right hand following surgery; James O'Connor will start again at No.10.
Rebels: Angus Roberts; Jason Woodward, Mitch Inman, Lachlan Mitchell, Cooper Vuna; James O'Connor, Nick Phipps; Gareth Delve (captain), Scott Fuglistaller, Scott Higginbotham; Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle; Laurie Weeks, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Replacements: Shota Horie, Paul Alo-Emile, Cadeyrn Neville, Jordy Reid, Nic Stirzaker, Rory Sidey, Richard Kingi.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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