Plenty to play for says Rebels’ Leafa

Melbourne hooker Pat Leafa says there’s no lack of motivation amongst the Rebels despite them bowing out of the Super Rugby finals race.

The Rebels’ slim chances ended on the back of their two losses in South Africa.

But hosting the Bulls at AAMI Park for their first Saturday afternoon match of the season, Leafa said the team was determined to finish the season in winning fashion.

“We can’t make the finals but we still have a lot to play for,” Leafa said.

“The team wants to play well for the club, we have a lot of good guys who are moving on and we want to finish the season as high as we can.

“We want that eight wins for the season.”

Among the players to bid farewell at the end of the season is skipper Scott Higginbotham, who will play in Japan post World Cup.

Prop Paul Alo-Emile, who will play his 50th Rebels match on Saturday, has also signed with Stade Francais.

He has returned to the starting line-up to replace the suspended Laurie Weeks.

Halfback Nic Stirzaker, veteran centre Tamati Ellison and winger Cam Crawford are also new inclusions.

The Bulls enter the last two rounds in ninth place and are the lowest placed team still in finals contention.

They are one spot above the Rebels on the overall ladder.

With the Rebels failing to crack a win in three previous attempts, and with the Bulls posting big scores in each, Leafa said they would take some stopping.

“They will put everything on the line but so will we,” he said.

“They’ve got a lot of internationals but we will definitely give them a run as they are only one up above us.”

Rebels: Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Cam Crawford, Jack Debreczeni, Nic Stirzaker, Scott Higginbotham, Colby Faingaa, Sean McMahon, Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones, Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Res: Tom Sexton, Cruze Ah-Nau, Tim Metcher, Sam Jeffries, Jordy Reid, Ben Meehan, Bryce Hegarty, Tom English.

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