Carter returns to lead Brumbies

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:47
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Brumbies have made three changes to the starting XV that defeated the Reds at GIO Stadium last week as they prepare for the challenge of the Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday.

Sam Carter returns to skipper the side against the Rebels, renewing his second-row partnership with Wallabies international teammate Rory Arnold, whilst there are starts for centre Andrew Smith and No.8 Jarrad Butler in place of the injured Kyle Godwin and Jordan Smiler.

Head Coach Stephen Larkham reverts to a six-two split on the bench which sees Jordan Jackson-Hope named as cover for the backs alongside a possible first Brumbies cap for former Australian Sevens star and ACT local Tom Cusack. 

Blake Enever is included amongst the forward replacements in what is a strong bench as the Brumbies aim to extend their winning streak against Australian Conference opposition to eleven.

The hand injury suffered by Godwin in the 43-10 hammering of the Reds means a first start of the season for Smith in the inside-centre role, linking up with Tevita Kuridrani. Tom Banks retains his position on the left wing with Henry Speight and last week's man of the match Aidan Toua completing the back three.

The pairing of Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera continues for a seventh match in a row with the Kiwi-born pivot having racked up 52 points in his first half a dozen matches for the side. 

The pack, which was in dominant form against the Reds, has a more settled look with the front row trio of Scott Sio, Robbie Abel and Allan Alaalatoa combining for the second week in succession.

With Smiler out injured, Butler's first start of the campaign is alongside powerhouse Scott Fardy and the ultra-impressive Chris Alcock, the pair proving to be almost unstoppable at the breakdown in the Reds victory, snaffling regular possession and securing plenty of ball.

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Tom Banks, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Tom Staniforth, 21 Tom Cusack, 22 De Wet Roos, 23 Jordan Jackson-Hope.

Date: Saturday, April 15
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (09.45 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19