The Rebels begin the Kevin Foote era on Saturday.
The Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition is set to kick off this Friday as the Australian and New Zealand teams battle for supremacy.
The Reds and Crusaders enter as the teams to beat following their successes in Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa.
Here’s everything you need to know about Super Rugby Trans-Tasman!
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman
REBELS vs BLUES, Saturday 7.45pm AEST in Melbourne
Umaga was unsure when MacDonald will rejoin the squad, providing a distraction two days prior to the Blues’ match against the Rebels on Saturday night.
The former South African sevens player will coach the Rebels for the first time after stepping up from his previous position as Dave Wessels’ assistant.
Wessels stepped down at the end of Super Rugby AU after four years in the role.
“We’ve prepared well, and the boys are ready for Saturday’s game, it’s a great opportunity for us to put Super Rugby AU behind us and test ourselves against the Blues,” Foote said.
“Coming off a win against the Waratahs where we played the type of rugby that we have been aiming for, it gives us great belief coming up against New Zealand teams.”
Lachie Anderson returns to start on the wing while No.8 Michael Icely is set to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.
Meanwhile, Blues coach Leon MacDonald is in doubt to make the trip to Melbourne as Super Rugby takes its first steps in international travel in Super Rugby trans-Tasman.
REBELS (15-1): Tom Pincus, Frank Lomani, Stacey Ili, Campbell Magnay, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua (c), Joe Powell, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Josh Kemeny, Ross Haylett-Petty, Rob Leota, Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr
Reserves: James Hanson, Matt Gibbon, Lucio Sordoni, Steve Cummins, Michael Icely, James Tuttle, Carter Gordon, Lachlan Anderson
BLUES (15-1): Zarn Sullivan, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, AJ Lam, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Tom Robinson (c), Josh Goodhue, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Marcel Renata, Kurt Eklund, Karl Tu’inukuafe
Reserves: Soane Vikena, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nerpo Laulala, Jacob Pierce, Akira Ioane, Sam Nock, Harry Plummer, Mark Telea
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)