Brumbies change two for Kings
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chris Alcock and Tom Banks come back into the side as the Brumbies make two changes for the clash against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Head coach Stephen Larkham largely keeps faith with the squad that pushed the South African Conference leaders, the Lions, all the way at GIO Stadium last Friday with the brace of changes precipitating a re-jig in the backline.
Banks will come into the team at fullback, a position he played in the narrow loss to the Blues. That means that Aidan Toua will revert to the left wing in place of James Dargaville.
Alcock meanwhile is recalled into the starting team for Jarrad Butler who takes a place amongst the replacements.
These changes mean it's a mostly settled side that will aim to down a Kings team full of confidence and who have been victorious in their last three encounters, defeating the Waratahs and the Rebels on Australian soil before returning home to win a thriller against the Sharks.
That three-point success means that the Kings have won four matches this campaign, and have been raising eyebrows by playing some eye-catching running rugby, scoring a plethora of spectacular tries along the way.
The Brumbies will hope that their strong forward pack, led by skipper Sam Carter who forms a formidable second-row partnership with Rory Arnold, can dominate the Kings with the onus on the big ball-carrying back row of Alcock, Scott Fardy and Jordan Smiler to set the foundations.
Halfback pairing Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera will pull the strings in the playmaking positions, with Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani at centre. Top scorer Henry Speight, with six tries to his name in 2017, completes an exciting looking, and attacking, backline.
There is a potential debut-maker amongst the replacements as Andrew Muirhead sits on the bench in Super Rugby for the first time.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 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 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Muirhead, 23 Andrew Smith.
Date: Saturday, May 20
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19.30 (17.30 GMT, 3.30 AUS Time, Sunday, May 21)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)