Brumbies make two changes for Rebels battle
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made two changes to the starting side for Friday’s round six Super Rugby fixture against the Melbourne Rebels at Leichhardt Oval.
Vice-captain Tom Cusack and wing Andy Muirhead return to the run-on side for the first time since they split the Man of the Match honours in round three against the NSW Waratahs.
For the third straight week Wallabies trio Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaaaltoa make up the front row, with the impressive young lock pairing of Darcy Swain and Nick Frost completing the tight five.
Cusack is joined by Rob Valetini and Pete Samu in the loose forwards, the latter two starting every game so far in 2020.
The halves see fellow vice-captain Joe Powell partner with Bayley Kuenzle for the third straight week with Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani running the midfield.
Muirhead will be joined in the back three by try-scoring powerhouse Solomone Kata and the electric Tom Banks, who could match up against fellow Wallaby Reece Hodge at fullback.
Canberra boy, Connal McInerney will again be required in the later stages of the match as the replacement hooker, with fellow local pathway products Harry Lloyd and Tom Ross the other front row finishers.
Will Miller and Ben Hyne will provide the remaining cover for the forward pack.
Former Australian Under-20s number nine Ryan Lonergan will make his first appearance in the new competition as the replacement scrumhalf, with last week’s hero Mack Hansen and Len Ikitau rounding out the matchday 23.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Will Miller, 20 Ben Hyne, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Len Ikitau.
Date: Friday, August 7
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.05 (09.05 GMT)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner & Reuben Keane
TMO: George Ayoub