Brumbies coach rewards team for destroying Waratahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Experienced scrumhalf Joe Powell has been recalled to the starting side for the Brumbies Round Nine Super Rugby AU showdown with the Western Force at GIO Stadium on Friday.
Powell is the only change to the starting XV with coach Dan McKellar choosing to keep the same forward pack that defeated the Waratahs last Saturday.
Wallabies prop James Slipper and skipper Allan Alaalatoa will again pack down with hooker Connal McInerney in the front row, while Cadeyrn Neville caps off a big week after re-signing with the franchise, pairing with Murray Douglas in the second row.
The back row sees Lachlan McCaffrey starting at blindside flank with Will Miller wearing the No.7 jersey and last week’s Man of the Match, Pete Samu anchoring the back of the scrum.
Powell will partner Bayley Kuenzle in the halves with the dangerous pairing of Irae Simone and Solomone Kata holding down the midfield.
After bagging another two tries last week Tom Wright remains on the wing with fellow try-scorer Andy Muirhead on the other edge and the elusive Tom Banks at fullback.
Wallaby Folau Fainga’a makes his return to the matchday squad as replacement hooker with Scott Sio and Tom Ross the finishing props, McKellar opting to return to a five/three bench with Darcy Swain and Rob Valetini the other forward finishers.
After making a successful return in Brumbies colours last week, Nic White will again get an opportunity off the pine alongside promising young playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa and the hard-hitting Len Ikitau.
Plus500 Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “It’s great to have Joey back in the squad this week, he provides a lot of leadership and he’ll bring a lot of energy on the field.”
“The Force have been on the road a long time now and we know they’ll be coming down here and throwing everything at us and we’ll be ready for that tomorrow [Friday] night.
“The team and the whole organisations is really pleased that we’re able to have more supporters at GIO Stadium on Saturday night and we’re thankful to those that have allowed that to happen.”
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Solomone Kata, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Rob Valetini, 21 Nic White, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Len Ikitau.
Date: Friday, August 28
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.05 (09.05 GMT)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Reuben Keane
TMO: Graham Cooper