Brumbies to unleash Kuridrani against Sunwolves
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Brumbies are aiming for a fifth home win in succession when the Sunwolves arrive at GIO Stadium for their Round 13 Super Rugby clash on Sunday.
Having defeated the Chiefs, Waratahs, Lions and Blues in their last four outings in Canberra, the Brumbies are right back in the Australian Conference reckoning as the season heads into the last six rounds.
For the visit of the Japanese side, head coach Dan McKellar has made three changes to the team that beat the Blues with Scott Sio, Darcy Swain and Tevita Kuridrani brought into the starting XV.
Sio continues his rotation with fellow Wallaby James Slipper at prop, Slipper being amongst the replacements, whilst Swain is promoted to take the place of Rory Arnold, the Australian international unavailable due to injury.
Kuridrani meanwhile comes back at outside centre to reform the midfield partnership with Irae Simone that started in the wins against the Chiefs and Waratahs. The blockbusting duo tasked to create opportunities for the pacemen out wide, Toni Pulu, Henry Speight and Tom Banks, to take advantage of.
Christian Lealiifano will captain the side again, the 42nd time he has led the team onto the field, having passed the 900-point mark in Super Rugby during the Blues contest last Saturday.
Up front, the pack has a similar feel with Sio joining Allan Alaalatoa and Folau Fainga’a in a Wallabies front row in which hooker Fainga’a has been in inspirational try-scoring form, topping the Super Rugby five-pointer lists with ten tries in ten games.
Brumbies Academy product Swain will form the lock partnership with Sam Carter whilst the back row remains the same, with flanks Tom Cusack and Jahrome Brown, and Pete Samu who is selected at number eight.
The replacements feature Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin and Connal McInerney as the front row replacements, alongside Slipper, with Murray Douglas and Blake Enever the other forward options.
Local young scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan, winger Andy Muirhead and centre Tom Wright complete the matchday squad providing the cover for the backs.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Tom Wright, 23 Andy Muirhead
Date: Sunday, May 12
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 16.05 (15.05 Japan time; 06.05 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)