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Rebels' Burgess experience an edge

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MELBOURNE - The experience of former Wallaby Luke Burgess is set to give him a head start in his race against Nic Stirzaker to be the Melbourne Rebels' starting halfback.

Taking on the Waratahs in their first Super Rugby trial in Albury on Saturday February 1, Rebels coach Tony McGahan said his best line-up was far from settled.

Burgess joined Melbourne after a stint in France and is looking to reclaim a Wallabies jersey.

He has 37 Test caps, 59 Super caps and more than 50 appearances for four-time Heineken Cup champions Toulouse.

But first the 30-year-old must get past Stirzaker, who was deputy for Nick Phipps who will line up with NSW in 2014.

Speedy Stirzaker, who has a bullet pass, impressed with his chances in 2013.

What could swing selection Burgess' way is the Rebels' lack of depth and inexperience at five-eighth, with their first choice rookie Bryce Hegarty, who has only five Super caps.

With the Rebels losing star playmakers Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor from their backline, Melbourne's other option is to play veteran Kiwi centre Tamati Ellison at 10.