Brumbies to unleash League convert against Rebels
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar has made five changes for the Super Rugby Round Four clash against the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
The match will see a first start for livewire centre Tom Wright.
Wright comes into the team at inside centre following his cameo from the replacements bench in both the matches against the Chiefs and Hurricanes, registering his first try for the team in Palmerston North last weekend.
The former Rugby League player will link up with Tevita Kuridrani in the centres as the Brumbies look to gain revenge for the opening round defeat to their Australian Conference opponents at GIO Stadium.
The inclusion of Wright is one of a brace of changes in the backline with fan favourite Henry Speight sufficiently recovered from the knock he sustained against the Rebels to regain a position on the right wing, forming a potentially explosive back three alongside Andy Muirhead and Tom Banks.
There are three further changes in the pack as McKellar brings back Sam carter into the second row, reforming his locking partnership with Rory Arnold whilst there are two changes in the back row.
Tom Cusack, who started the victory against the Chiefs in Canberra, is restored to the starting XV but is shifted into the No.8 position with Rob Valetini back at blindside flank, opposite the legendary David Pocock on the other flank, forming a back row that will aim to pilfer and disrupt as much as possible.
On the bench, lock forward Murray Douglas, a former Melbourne Rebels player, is set to make his Brumbies debut as a replacement having been selected as cover for the second row, and there is a first chance for young scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan, fresh from a dazzling display for the Runners against Auckland.
Lonergan is in line for his second Brumbies appearance, having last been included in a squad in July 2017, making his debut against the Chiefs at FMG Stadium in Hamilton in a Round 17 fixture.
TEAM NEWS | Tom Wright to make his run on debut at 12! #BrumbiesFamily
— Plus500 Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) March 6, 2019
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Tom Wright, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Tom Cusack, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Chance Peni.
Date: Friday, March 8
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (08.45 GMT)
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)