Expect the Rebels to yell with Lions in town
WITH one of the original rebels, British rocker Billy Idol, on tour in Australia and celebrating his 60th birthday this week, Melbourne's own Rebels will be keen to let out a roar of their own when they host the Lions tonight.
The Rebels have started the season with a bang and sit equal second with the Waratahs on the Australian conference standings with a 2-2 record.
Both the wins have been away from home - against the Crusaders and Western Force - while they have not been disgraced losing to the Tahs and Brumbies at AAMI Park.
After the Lions recorded their first win in New Zealand two weeks ago - a 13-10 win against the struggling Blues - they had a reality check last week, going down 34-6 to the Crusaders in Christchurch. Coach Johan Ackermann reacted to that loss by making 12 changes for tonight's game.
Halfback Faf de Klerk and No.10 Marnitz Boshoff both return and will play together for the first time this season.
And in an almost completely restructured backline, Elton Jantjies moves from flyhalf to inside centre, Jaco van der Walt will start at fullback and Courtnall Skosan on the left wing.
In tonight's other game to kick off round six, the unbeaten Hurricanes head south to take on the impressive Highlanders in Dunedin.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has made a handful of changes to the side that beat the Blues 30-23 in Palmerston North last weekend, with All Black lock Jeremy Thrush replacing the suspended James Broadhurst and star winger Corey Jane returning after sitting out last week.
The match of the round is clearly the clash between the Waratahs and Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday.
The Brumbies have made just one change to the side that beat the Reds 29-0 last weekend, with champion flanker David Pocock recovering from an ankle complaint and replacing Blake Enever on the bench.
Captain Stephen Moore said he was thrilled to see the former Wallabies captain back in the line-up.
ROUND SIX (home teams first):
Tonight: Highlanders v Hurricanes, Rebels v Lions; Tomorrow: Crusaders v Cheetahs, Bulls v Western Force, Sharks v Chiefs; Sunday: Waratahs v Brumbies.