Trio of changes for Brumbies
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar has made three changes to the team that will take on the Reds at GIO Stadium on Saturday in Round Eight of Super Rugby.
Matt Lucas, Chance Peni and Tom Banks are given the opportunity to shine as McKellar looks to get his team back on track having been defeated by the Waratahs at the same venue a week ago.
The fixture with the Reds will see the Brumbies compete for the Rod Macqueen trophy, and a win for the home side will see them retain the Cup they hold from 2017. The Reds meanwhile, thanks to their success in the match in Brisbane earlier this season, can wrest the cup back to Brisbane with a success.
Scrumhalf Lucas makes his first start for the Brumbies having been a replacement in each of his previous five appearances and will look to kick-start the backline into action in partnership with Wharenui Hawera.
The other two changes are in the back three where Chance Peni returns to the left-wing having missed the games against the Sharks and Waratahs, replacing Lausii Taliauli, whilst Tom Banks is in at fullback ahead of Andrew Muirhead.
There are a further three changes amongst the replacements with co-captain Sam Carter deemed fit after a prolonged absence, after suffering a heavy knock to the head against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin returns as cover in the front row for the unlucky Mees Erasmus who, despite being named on the bench last week, was unfortunate not to get his first Brumbies cap.
There is an opportunity for Erasmus' former Force colleague James Verity-Amm to make his Brumbies bow however, as the flying wing is named as backs cover and stands in line for a debut appearance.
It's a weekend for milestones as well as the Brumbies celebrate Fijian speedster Henry Speight winning his 100th cap for the team, a sensational achievement, whilst lock Rory Arnold and prop Allan Alaalatoa will both reach the fifty-cap milestone for the Brumbies when they take to the field.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 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 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 James Verity-Amm.
Date: Saturday, April 7
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (09.35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)