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Brumbies name full-strength side for Super Rugby season opener

The Brumbies have named a full-strength side to face the Rebels in their Super Rugby season opener in Canberra on Friday.

First-five Christian Lealiifano will captain the side, which features 11 internationally capped players.

He will combine with Wallabies halfback Joe Powell to form a talented halves pairing.

Irae Simone is set to make his debut for the ACT club from second-five following his move from the Waratahs, joining forces with powerful 58-test centre Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield.

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Former Chiefs flyer Toni Pulu is another who will make his first appearance in Brumbies colours after moving across the Tasman, with the 30-year-old named in the back three alongside Wallabies Tom Banks and Henry Speight, who returns after a loan spell with Ulster in the Pro14 during the Super Rugby off-season.

In the pack, new recruit James Slipper starts at loosehead prop to form an all-Wallabies tight five consisting of Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaalatoa up front, and Rory Arnold and Sam Carter in the second row.

77-test flanker David Pocock has fought off a calf strain to headline the starting loose froward trio, of which nine-test Wallabies newcomer Pete Samu is absent from.

The former Crusaders loose froward will instead have to make his Brumbies debut from off the bench, with Rob Valentini and Lachlan McCaffrey occupying the six and eight jerseys.

Samu joins international teammate Scott Sio as the most experienced players in the reserves, although playmaker Wharenui Hawera will look to make an impact in the latter stages of the contest.

The Rebels are expected to name their side later today.

Brumbies side to face the Rebels in Canberra on Friday:

  1. James Slipper
  2. Folau Fainga’a
  3. Allan Alaalatoa
  4. Rory Arnold
  5. Sam Carter
  6. Rob Valentini
  7. David Pocock
  8. Lachlan McCaffrey
  9. Joe Powell
  10. Christian Lealiifano (c)
  11. Toni Pulu
  12. Irae Simone
  13. Tevita Kuridrani
  14. Henry Speight
  15. Tom Banks

Reserves:

  1. Josh Mann-Rea
  2. Scott Sio
  3. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin
  4. Blake Enever
  5. Peter Samu
  6. Matt Lucas
  7. Wharenui Hawera
  8. Andy Muirhead

Head coach Dan McKellar ahead of Brumbies season opener:

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Brumbies name full-strength side for Super Rugby season opener