Update: 11:15AM Former Wellington openside flanker Scott Fuglistaller has been recalled to the Melbourne Rebels' starting lineup for tomorrow night's Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders at AAMI Park after benefiting from an early season spell.
Rebels head coach Tony McGahan opted to rest Fuglistaller from last weekend's trip to Western Australia a chastening experience for Australia's newest franchise as they crashed to a 32-7 loss to the Force in Perth.
"Scott has had a huge workload over the pre-season and through the games, so for him to have a bit of a recharge before having a good go at it now has been terrific," McGahan said.
"Scott brings a real edge to our play in terms of physicality, but he also brings a real mental edge to the group and helps provide [captain] Scott Higginbotham with some extra leadership on the field."
McGahan has predictably made several changes to the lineup that failed to back up from an encouraging 35-14 home win over the Cheetahs in round three.
In the pack props Paul Alo-Emile and Max Lahiff are rotated to the bench and are replaced by former Chiefs representative Toby Smith and Laurie Weeks.
"With the demands placed on props, I want to keep things moving and will continue to swap those players throughout the season," McGahan said.
Second rower Luke Jones and pivot Bryce Hegarty played strongly off the bench in Perth and come in for Cadeyrn Neville and Angus Roberts respectively.
"Luke has been in terrific form throughout the trials and Super Rugby; he's had a huge workload, playing almost 80 minutes for all of those matches, so we gave him a bit of a break last week and we can bring him back into the starting
group," McGahan said.
"Bryce needed the opportunity to stay off and watch some footy off the bench, and to be able to transfer what he saw into his performance when he came on the field; we're looking forward to him starting for us."
Meanwhile, the Rebels backline has been boosted by the return of last season's club rookie of the year, Tom English, who was a late withdrawal from the team to play the Force.
The former NSW Waratahs' finisher occupies the left flank while Lachlan Mitchell starts on the right wing to relegate former Crusaders and Highlanders representative Telusa Veainu to the bench as back three cover.
"Tom English is really important to us," McGahan said.
"His carrying ability gets us over the game line, he is a great talker and has a great defensive mindset, and to have him back on the edge allows him to show off all of those qualities."
The Rebels are ninth and fourth in the Australian conference with a one-win, one-loss record while the 14th-ranked Crusaders will be keen to build on a scratchy 14-13 win over the Stormers after slumping to successive losses to the Chiefs and Blues.
The seven-time champions were upset 28-19 by the Rebels two years ago in their only previous match in Melbourne.
Melbourne Rebels: Jason Woodward, Lachlan Mitchell, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Tom English, Bryce Hegarty, Luke Burgess, Scott Higginbotham (captain), Scott Fuglistaller, Sean McMahon, Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Reserves: Shota Horie, Max Lahiff, Paul Alo-Emile, Cadeyrn Neville, Colby Fainga'a, Ben Meehan, Angus Roberts, Telusa Veainu.