Delve to lead against the Lions

Welsh international Gareth Delve will lead the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels into battle against the British & Irish Lions at AAMI Park on Tuesday night. [more]

Delve to lead against the Lions

Welsh international Gareth Delve will lead the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels into battle against the British & Irish Lions at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

It will be the first time the Rebels have played against the Lions and they will be hoping to repeat last week’s midweek victory of the Brumbies over the tourists.

The home line-up also includes the returning Qantas Wallabies scrum half Luke Burgess, who has ended his time with French club Toulouse a year early. His last start on Aussie soil was almost two years ago.

"It's a massive opportunity and it's going to be a huge honour to lead the boys out against the Lions. Growing up it was probably the biggest ambition as a young rugby player to actually play for them, so I suppose, if you can't join them, try and beat them,” said Delve.

"I'm very excited, it's really building up now, and I think that watching more games as the Tour has gone on has just kept the excitement building. I think as soon as they hit Melbourne it's going to be incredible.

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"I think we'll go well – the guys have been training really well and they are jumping out of their skins to have a crack. It's just going to be an incredible atmosphere with a full house at AAMI Park – we can't wait."
With Wallabies Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and Nick Phipps unavailable for selection due to national selection, the Rebels also welcome the return of Hugh Pyle and Jarrod Saffy into the starting XV, after both returning from injury.

Bryce Hegarty returns to the starting line-up after missing the Rebels' previous match due to illness and he will be looking forward to linking up for the first time with the 37-times capped Burgess.

"Every Rugby player's dream is to have the opportunity to play against the Lions in their home country, and I am very honoured to have been selected to start for the Rebels," said Burgess.

"European Rugby is a lot different to what we have down under, and I think I can bring an edge to the Rebels' attack, and control the tempo of the game. It's important we establish this early, as we have seen what they can do when allowed to control the match."

Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Damien Hill, said the selection of the Rebels youth was a shining example of the belief the coaching staff and players have in the Club's future.

"There are many great milestones in this match, not only is it the first opportunity the Rebels have to play The British & Irish Lions in front of our members and fans, but it will be the first match for Cruze Ah-Nau at the Rebels and Luke's first start at the Club," said Hill.

"I am very proud of the way Melbourne has embraced the Rebels, and we hope to repay that with a record attendance at AAMI Park, and a historical moment in Victorian sporting history.

"We have been without a number of our high profile players this season but the squad has met these challenges head on with many of the younger members like Bryce, Tom English, Jason Woodward, Jordy Reid, Angus Roberts and Pat Leafa getting their first taste of Super Rugby.

"Their efforts have contributed to a number of excellent team performances this season and they are excited about the challenge they will face together on Tuesday night."

Melbourne Rebels (v British & Irish Lions)

15. Jason Woodward

14. Tom English
13. Mitch Inman
12. Rory Sidey
11. Lachlan Mitchell

10. Bryce Hegarty
9. Luke Burgess

1. Nic Henderson
2. Ged Robinson
3. Laurie Weeks
4. Cadeyrn Neville
5. Hugh Pyle
6. Jarrod Saffy
7. Scott Fuglistaller
8. Gareth Delve (captain)

16. Pat Leafa
17. Cruze Ah Nau
18. Paul Alo-Emile
19. Luke Jones
20. Jordy Reid
21. Nic Stirzaker
22. Angus Roberts
23. Cooper Vuna

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