Pocock to make long-awaited return

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 05:59
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallaby flank David Pocock will make his long-awaited return to action this weekend after being named in the Brumbies team to take on old foes the Waratahs at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

In so doing, the superstar forward will play his 100th match of Super Rugby, having racked up 69 appearances for the Force before heading to the capital to sign for the Brumbies in 2013.
The addition of Pocock to the starting XV is the only change from the team that defeated the Sharks in Round Five meaning that the back row will see the 65-times capped international lining up alongside Lachlan McCaffrey and Isi Naisarani.
In front of this mobile and dynamic trio are the second-row pairing of Rory Arnold and Blake Enever who will lock the scrum behind the starting front row of Wallabies Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa and hooker Folau Fainga’a.
Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera will continue their halfback partnership after Hawera's excellent performance against the Sharks with Christian Lealiifano and Tevita Kuridrani tasked with finding the gaps in the Waratahs defensive line from centre.
Should they succeed, the Brumbies trio of fliers out-wide, Henry Speight, Lausii Taliauli and Andy Muirhead have the skills, acceleration and finishing power to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise.
Amongst the replacements, McKellar has been forced into making several changes due to injury and unavailability with the result the prospect of prop forward Mees Erasmus making his Super Rugby debut.
The former Force front-rower has looked sharp in training and performed admirably in the pre-season trial matches against both the Rebels in Queanbeyan and the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast as well as being part of the squad that participated at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
Erasmus is joined by the returning Robbie Abel and fellow prop Faalelei Sione whilst Richie Arnold and Tom Cusack provide cover in the lock department and back-row respectively.
There also appears to be plenty in reserve amongst the backs with Matt Lucas, Kyle Godwin and Tom Banks ready to step off the bench and make their mark in a match that is traditionally one of the highlights of the season.

Brumbies: 15 Andy Muirhead, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Mees Erasmus, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Tom Banks.

Date: Saturday, March 31
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (08.45 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14