Sio headlines Brumbies team to face Reds
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Australian Conference Champion Brumbies return to GIO Stadium this weekend for their final regular season match of the Super Rugby competition when they welcome the Reds.
Having secured a home quarterfinal to be played next weekend, head coach Dan McKellar has made four changes to the starting XV that defeated the Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and promoted a trio of youngsters to the replacements bench.
Fittingly, as the Brumbies celebrate the culture and heritage of their Pasifika Islands players with their unique jersey, Scott Sio headlines the inclusions in the forwards as the prop will pack down for his 100th Brumbies Rugby match, leading the team onto the GIO Stadium turf before kick-off, forming a front-row alongside Allan Alaalatoa and Folau Fainga’a.
There are two additions to the back-row with Lachlan McCaffrey rotating with Pete Samu in the No.8 jersey, Samu is named amongst the replacements, whilst Jahrome Brown is back in the starting line-up, on the opposite flank to Rob Valetini, in place of Tom Cusack who is rested.
In the backs, livewire utility Tom Wright has earned a start on the left-wing, the dynamic and speedy youngster having already played at centre from where he has scored two tries in his debut season.
Other than the inclusion of Wright, the backline is the same that gave the Waratahs the run around in an expansive opening forty minutes last weekend, with Joe Powell and skipper Christian Lealiifano the fulcrum from which the exciting back division takes its lead.
Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani are forming a tough-tackling, physical centre-pairing with Simone having crossed for three tries in successive matches, his latest a score against his former club in Parramatta.
There’s a youthful look to the Brumbies bench with a trio of promising talent given an opportunity amongst the replacements. Scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan is joined by Jordan Jackson-Hope and Len Ikitau with the trio sure to add plenty of pace and enthusiasm to the finishers.
Murray Douglas is also included on the bench, with the front row changes seeing McKellar select Connal McInerney, James Slipper and Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin.
TheBrumbies will be wearing their new Pasifika Round jersey for the match, designed with the help of the playing group.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’A, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Len Ikitau.
Date: Saturday, June 15
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (09.45 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)