Minor tweak for unbeaten Brumbies
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made just the one change to the starting XV for the top of the table clash against the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
The round five fixture sees both sides come in undefeated in Super Rugby AU and will also be the first time the Brumbies wear an Indigenous playing jersey.
Tall timber Darcy Swain returns to the side after missing the 24-nil win over the Western Force and will partner Nick Frost for the first time in the starting second row.
Wallabies stars Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a and skipper Allan Alaalatoa will again set the standard in the set piece from the front row.
*Article continues below…
Barnstorming youngster Rob Valetini, Will Miller and Pete Samu combine for the second straight week as loose forwards with Joe Powell and Bayley Kuenzle lining up the halves.
Irae Simone will look to continue his fine form at inside centre. Test star Tevita Kuridrani to play outside him in the 13 jersey, his 129th match for the club.
Tom Wright will again get a chance to impress on the wing, with the damaging Solomone Kata and ever-reliable Tom Banks making up the back three.
After a solid 25 minutes last week Connal McInerney is again the replacement hooker, with James Slipper and Tom Ross the other front row finishers.
Vice-captain Tom Cusack returns to the side and will be helped out by Lachlan McCaffrey to cover the loose forwards.
Speedster Issak Fines will be the number nine replacement, with Mack Hansen and proud Indigenous man Andy Muirhead finalising the matchday 23.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “We’re really excited to get another opportunity to play in front of our supporters this week in Canberra and take on the Reds who have had a good start to the new competition.”
“We’ve had a solid week of preparation and the whole team is up for what’s going to be a big challenge on Saturday night.
“It’s also going to be a special occasion to be able to wear our first ever Indigenous jersey and I know the players are really proud to be a part of that.”
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 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 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Cusack, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Issak Fines, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Date: Saturday, August 1
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.15 (09.15 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, Reuben Keane
TMO: Ian Smith