Brumbies change two for Reds clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: Rory Arnold and Lachlan McCaffrey are the only two changes to the Brumbies starting XV for their showdown with the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Lock Arnold replaces his brother Richie in the second row with McCaffrey, who made a try-scoring appearance for the luckless Rob Valetini against the Sunwolves in Tokyo, beginning his first Brumbies Super Rugby match since 2014.
There are three changes amongst the replacements with Auckland-born prop Nic Mayhew recovered from injury and selected on the bench in place of Faalelei Sione, whilst Lolo Fakaosilea comes in as back-row cover and Blake Enever, a non-playing reserve in Tokyo, back in the matchday twenty-three.
Ben Alexander edges ever-closer to the 150-cap milestone by starting in an unchanged front row alongside hooker Josh Mann-Rea and Allan Alaalatoa, the former having scored a trademark try off the back of a rolling maul at the Prince Chichibu Stadium.
Sam Carter will lead the team as captain, lining up alongside Arnold in an all-Wallaby second row, with McCaffrey packing down in a dynamic-looking back-row combination alongside the mobile Tom Cusack and the hard-running Isi Naisarani.
Joe Powell and Christian Lealiifano form the halfback pairing with the duo aiming to continue to enhance their understanding together and free the likes of Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani into open ground, both of whom claimed tires in the opening round success.
Out wide Henry Speight and Chance Peni will be looking to get the ball in hand in space with Tom Banks another potent attacking threat from fullback, Banks making a return to his former stomping ground having earned a brace of caps for the Reds before heading to the national capital.
Outside of the three changes on the bench outlined, Robbie Abel continues as back-up hooker with Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin the other prop option alongside the returning Mayhew. McKellar has opted for a five/three split in the replacements with scrumhalf Matt Lucas, utility back Wharenui Hawera and Lausii Taliauli the options available.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhem, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli
Date: Friday, March 2
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.00 (09.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistance Referees: William Houston (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)