The Rebels will play their first match at Mars Stadium in Ballarat - approximately 100km north-west of Melbourne - and their clash with the Cell C Sharks starts at 05h45 (SA time). 

Jeremy Ward comes into the starting line-up as replacement for Am while Curwin Bosch has rejoined his team mates Down Under after returning from a family bereavement. The Springbok utility player is straight back into the starting side, while fellow Springbok Makazole Mapimpi has recovered from his concussion and is also back in the starting fifteen.

Up front, Springbok prop Thomas du Toit is back in the front row after his late withdrawal last week in Wellington due to illness.

A rotation at scrumhalf means a start for Sanele Nohamba in place of Louis Schreuder. Meanwhile, Boeta Chamberlain has returned to South Africa after failing the return to play protocol after he was concussed last weekedn. Lwazi Mvovo, who was called up in his place, is included on the bench.

The Cell C Sharks have won five of their previous seven outings against the Rebels (D1, L1), however, their only loss in that stretch came in their last visit to Victoria on 23 March 2018. The Melbourne side have lost their last six fixtures against South African opposition.


The teams:

Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Steven Misa, 1 Matt Gibbon. Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tom English.

Cell C Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Miami Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Hence Venter, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.


Head to head:

Played: 7

Rebels won: 1

Cell C Sharks: 5

Draw: 1

Rebels points: 145

Cell C Sharks points: 196

Average score: 21-28


Match information:

Date: Saturday, 22 February

Venue: Mars Stadium, Ballarat

SA time: 05h45

Referee: AJ Jacobs

Assistant referees: Damon Murphy, James Quinn

TMO: George Ayoub