Rugby Union: Former Wanderer Andrew Tuala a Rebel with a cause

ON THE CHARGE: Former Wanderers Andrew Tuala trucks the ball up playing for the Greater Sydney Rams in the National Rugby Championships. Picture: Rugby News
ON THE CHARGE: Former Wanderers Andrew Tuala trucks the ball up playing for the Greater Sydney Rams in the National Rugby Championships. Picture: Rugby News

FOR many of Andrew Tuala’s Melbourne Rebel teammates it will be an emotional homecoming.

For the premiership-winning Wanderers hooker it will be a chance to prove he belongs in Super Rugby.

Tuala, now at West Harbour, was among five Shute Shield players drafted in for the World Series Rugby battle against Perth at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

The powerhouse hooker, who has been in outstanding form in the Shute  Shield, will be on the bench behind former Wallaby Nathan Charles.

It will be the 27-year-old’s third appearance for the Rebels after playing a pre-season trial against the Brumbies and at the Brisbane Tens in February.

And with Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese to will miss the rest of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, there many be an opportunity for Tuala to join the squad full-time.

For Rebels coach Dave Wessels and half a dozen of his players it will be a return to Perth, where they were previously with the Western Force.

The clash has been billed as “a grudge match”, with the Rebels having been the main beneficiary of the axing of the old Force Super Rugby side.

They were the only Australian Super Rugby club to agree to play the Force when they were reformed under Perth billionaire Andrew Forrest.

“I know the players and I are excited about returning to Perth to play in front of family and against many old friends,” Wessels said.

“We’ll certainly be trying to do our part to put on an exciting game. It promises to be a night to remember.”