Twelve changes, as Brumbies 'rest' stars

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:43

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Brumbies have made 12 changes to the team that was beaten by the Reds in Brisbane last week, for their final game of the regular season against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Only wing Henry Speight, flyhalf Wharenui Hawera and flank Scott Fardy remain from the side that went down by a point at Suncorp Stadium.

Coach Stephen Larkham has decided to take the opportunity to rest some players ahead of the quarterfinal on 21 July.

A new-look front row sees Nic Mayhew and Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin propping either side of hooker Robbie Abel, whilst Tom Staniforth and Blake Enever combine in the second row.

Fardy will captain the side from flank in a back row that also includes Jarrad Butler, who had a stint at centre in the Reds fixture, and a return to the starting XV for robust No.8 Lolo Fakaosilea.

Behind the scrum there is a first start of the season for Argentinean scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli, who will link up with Kiwi flyhalf Hawera, making a return to his home-town - having been born in Hamilton.

Andrew Smith and Nigel Ah Wong will form a potentially strong midfield, with Speight joined in the back-three by the returning James Dargaville and Jordan Jackson-Hope, the latter starting the match at fullback.

Larkham has opted for six forwards amongst the replacements with Wallaby international prop Scott Sio named along with Brumby record-cap holder Ben Alexander and veteran hooker Josh Mann-Rea as the front row changes.

There's plenty of mobility in the shape of Ben Hyne, Tom Cusack and Jordan Smiler with scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan offered a first opportunity of the season and Tom Banks rounding out the bench.

Brumbies: 15 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Nigel Ah Wong, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy (captain), 5 Blake Enever, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Banks.

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 AEST; 05.15 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28