Kurtley Beale hasn't played since round Source: Michael Klein/foxsports.com.au
Playmaker Kurtley Beale will make his long awaited return for the Melbourne Rebels against the Chiefs on Friday night, more than two months after playing his last game of Super Rugby. The 24 year-old hasn’t lined up for the struggling Rebels since breaking his hand against the Waratahs in week three, with the club delaying his return to action after suspending him for an off-field incident in South Africa.
Following his side’s narrow 30-26 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch last week, the addition of Beale to the bench is the only change coach Damien Hill has made to his squad, with utility back Angus Roberts dropping out of the squad. Although the Rebels have won just two of their eight matches this season, they have showed improved form in the past month with a win over Western Force and narrow defeats to the Southern Kings and Crusaders.
The Chiefs have made several changes to their squad for this match, despite winning for the first time in three matches with their 37-29 victory over the Sharks last weekend. Injury means that forwards Mike Kainga and Nick Crosswell are unavailable and they have been replaced by Ben Tameifuna and Matt Vant Leven, while Sam Cane returns at openside flanker at the expense of Tanerau Latimer. Pauliasi Manu joins Tameifuna in a new look front row, while halfback Brendon Lawrence regains the number nine jersey from August Pulu.
The Rebels only wins this campaign have come against the bottom placed Western Force but they will be heartened by the fact that the Chiefs are yet to beat an Australian based franchise in 2013. They lost to both the Waratahs and Reds in April but won the most recent meeting between these sides 38-10 during the 2011 season.
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