Preview: Brumbies vs Reds – 08/04/2017

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Flanker Scott Fardy will lead out the Brumbies for the first time against Conference rivals the Reds at GIO Stadium on Saturday as one of three changes to the starting XV.

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham has recalled lock Rory Arnold to the starting side in place of regular skipper Sam Carter, who is rotated out of the line-up. Arnold will partner Blake Enever at lock whilst prop Scott Sio makes a first start of the season with Nic Mayhew reverting to the replacements.

There is one change in the back-line as well with ex-Reds utility-back Tom Banks handed a Brumbies debut on the left wing with James Dargaville taking a spot amongst the substitutes.

Alongside Dargaville on the bench there is a first appearance of the campaign for back-row Jarrad Butler, potentially his 50th Brumbies cap, and Andrew Smith returns with Jordan Jackson-Hope dropping out of the matchday 23.

Apart from the trio of newcomers, the Brumbies name the same team that went close to downing the Highlanders in Round 5 and, with the team coming off the bye week, they will be determined to get back to winning ways and take a firm command of the Australian Conference.

An exciting front row of Sio, Robbie Abel and Allan Alaalatoa will ensure a solid platform up front with Fardy leading from his usual blindside flanker role with Chris Alcock on the opposite flank and Jordan Smiler at number eight.

Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera will conduct play from behind the scrum with the centre pairing of Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani lining up alongside each other for the sixth successive match.

Leading try scorer Henry Speight takes up position on the right wing with speedy full-back Aidan Toua also featuring against his former team.

Reds head coach Nick Stiles has made two changes to his starting line-up to take on the Brumbies in their Australian derby in Canberra on Saturday. 

In the forwards, the return of prop Sef Fa’agase from a calf injury has prompted a shuffle in the front row. Fa’agase will start at loosehead prop, with Sam Talakai returning to his regular position of tighthead and Taniela Tupou shifted to the reserves.

The only other change to the starting side from last week’s match against the Hurricanes in Brisbane sees Lachlan Maranta named to make his run-on debut at full-back, in place of Karmichael Hunt who has been ruled out with concussion.

Stiles has also made significant changes to his bench, with hooker Alex Mafi and scrum-half Moses Sorovi in line to make their Queensland and Super Rugby debuts in place of Andrew Ready and Nick Frisby, who have been left out of the matchday 23 and will play Queensland Premier Rugby this weekend.

Lock Izack Rodda has also been named on the bench in place of Lukhan Tui, after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the game against the Jaguares.

Stiles said: “I flagged at the end of last week’s game there was a need for change and you can see that in the team we’ve selected to play the Brumbies. We’re really happy with the depth we have in the squad at the moment and the competitiveness it is driving within the group for spots.

“It takes 23 players over 80 minutes to win a game of Rugby and we believe this is the team to get us an outcome this weekend. The players who have been named have been rewarded for their efforts on the training paddock and the field.

“There’s obviously some notable omissions in Nick and Andrew. I had a good chat with them early in the week about their performances in recent weeks and about the expectations of the team as a whole. They’re aware of why they’ve been left out of the team this week and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond at club level this weekend.”

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Tom Banks, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy (c), 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 James Dargaville

Reds: 15 Lachlan Maranta, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Sef Fa’agase
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Izaia Perese

Date: Saturday, April 8
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19:45 local (09:45 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)


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