Brumbies field new-look pack for Hurricanes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made five changes to the starting XV for the side’s first home game of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Round Four fixture will celebrate Pasifika Round with the team set to wear a special playing strip inspired by the playing group and designed by Angelique Sloss.
After an impressive start to his Super Rugby career, Luke Reimer has earned his first start at openside flank, combining with Rob Valetini and Henry Stowers in the backrow.
Brumbies local Lachlan Lonergan returns to the starting side at hooker, flanked by Scott Sio and latest Brumbies centurion and skipper Allan Alaalatoa in the front row.
Darcy Swain and Nick Frost will again partner in the second row.
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The Lonergan brothers will start for the first time at home at GIO Stadium, with Ryan named at scrumhalf, combining with Noah Lolesio in the halves.
Bayley Kuenzle earns his second start of the year at inside centre and will partner the fleet-footed Len Ikitau in the midfield.
Mack Hansen also returns to the starting side, named on the left wing with Solomone Kata on the right edge and Wallabies fullback Tom Banks in the number 15 jersey.
The finishers have plenty of fire power with Folau Fainga’a, Harry Lloyd and Sefo Kautai the replacement front row.
Bathurst-born Tom Hooper will make his first Brumbies appearance in Australia with Tom Cusack named for his 51st Super Rugby cap as the backrow cover.
The replacement backs Nic White, Irae Simone and Tom Wright will add their experience to the side from the pine.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “Obviously we didn’t get the results we were after over the last three weeks and we’re looking for a response from the team on Saturday,”
“Luke has been training well all year and has performed well off the bench in his time in the Brumbies jersey so far.
“Lachlan, Bayley, Ryan and Mack have all been good for us and they’ve earned their opportunities in the starting side this weekend.
“It’s been six weeks since we’ve had the chance to play at home at GIO Stadium and we’re looking to recognising our Pasifika connections with a special jersey on Saturday and also giving our Brumbies Family an opportunity to celebrate Allan’s 100th Super Rugby match last weekend.”
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Bayley Kuenzle, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Luke Reimer, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Nic White, 22 Irae Simone 23 Tom Wright
Date: Saturday, June 5
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZT, 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Reuben Keane & James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie