Alexander returns for Brumbies
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Australia prop Ben Alexander returns to the Brumbies starting XV for the Super Rugby encounter against the Lions at the GIO Stadium on Friday.
The experienced prop Alexander set to claim his 139th Brumbies cap as he closes in on the record held by George Smith, which stands at 142.
Alexander's returns is one of the five changes to the team.
The other changes sees Jarrad Butler, Jordan Smiler, Kyle Godwin and Aidan Toua all return to the line-up for the challenge of the in-form South African franchise and 2016 Super Rugby Grand Finalists.
Godwin makes a return from the hand injury suffered in the thrashing of the Reds at GIO Stadium and comes back into the side at inside centre, re-forming what was becoming a burgeoning partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.
At fullback Toua is recalled into the number 15 shirt in place of Tom Banks, who steps down to the bench, one of three back options amongst the replacements alongside scrumhalf De Wet Roos and utility back Jordan Jackson-Hope, who crossed for a hat-trick of tries for Tuggeranong Vikings on Saturday.
A new-look back-row takes to the field on Friday with Smiler and Butler packing down alongside Scott Fardy in a mobile and physical combination with the aim to nullify the attacking edge that the Lions have in their forward unit.
Ben Hyne comes onto the bench for the contest with the rest of the forward replacements the same as the team which was narrowly beaten by the Blues a fortnight ago.
Brumbies last played the Lions in Canberra in 2011 when the visitors triumphed by nine points but, conversely, the last pair of meetings at Ellis Park in Johannesburg have gone the way of the Brumbies.
With the Lions riding high in the Africa Two Conference, leading their group by ten points, and the Brumbies atop of the Australian version, we are set for what is sure to be a tight confrontation between two sides who will be keen to solidify their place in the standings.
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Ben Hyne, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Tom Banks
Date: Friday, May 12
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 SA time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Jordan Way
TMO: Ian Smith