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Brumbies name unchanged backline for clash with Highlanders in Dunedin

By Finn Morton
Ryan Lonergan of the Brumbies scores a try during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Western Force at , on March 09, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Looking to make it two wins on the trot in Super Rugby Pacific, coach Stephen Larkham has named an unchanged backline ahead of the Brumbies’ clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

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Captain Ryan Lonergan will partner Wallaby Noah Lolesio in the halves, while Tamati Tua and Len Ikitau will combine in the midfield.

Speedsters Corey Toole and Andy Muirhead will line up on the left and right wings respectively, while former NRL playmaker Tom Wright will run out in the No. 15 jersey once again.

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But then there’s the forwards, and there have been some changes. Wallaby Blake Schoupp and Billy Pollard join Sosefo Kautai in the front row.

Cadeyrn Neville has been named for his first start of the 2024 season, with the towering lock set to join Nick Frost in the second row. Neville has been out of action since suffering a facial injury in the Brumbies’ defeat to the Chiefs in Super Round.

Joining Tom Hooper and Rob Valetini in the backrow is Jahrome Brown. Brown has been promoted into the First XV for his start.

Moving onto the bench, there’s plenty of experience there. Wallabies Lachlan Lonergan and James Slipper will both come off the pine, while Rhys Van Nek is another player to watch out for.

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Darcy Swain and Rory Scott will don the No. 19 and 20 jumpers, while former LA Giltinis and NSW Waratahs halfback Harrison Goddard will look to make an impact.

The final two players in the Brumbies’ matchday 23 are Declan Meredith and Oliver Sapsford.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
4
Average Points scored
24
29
First try wins
80%
Home team wins
40%

After returning to winning ways with a hard-fought win over the Western Force in Round Three, the Brumbies will look to keep the good times rolling against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

This match is scheduled to get underway at 2:35 pm AEDT on Saturday.

Brumbies team to take on Highlanders

  1. Blake Schoupp
  2. Billy Pollard
  3. Sosefo Kautai
  4. Nick Frost
  5. Cadeyrn Neville
  6. Tom Hooper
  7. Jahrome Brown
  8. Rob Valetini
  9. Ryan Lonergan (c)
  10. Noah Lolesio
  11. Corey Toole
  12. Tamati Tua
  13. Len Ikitau
  14. Andy Muirhead
  15. Tom Wright

Replacements

  1. Lachlan Lonergan
  2. James Slipper
  3. Rhys Van Nek
  4. Darcy Swain
  5. Rory Scott
  6. Harrison Goddard
  7. Declan Meredith
  8. Oliver Sapsford
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Shaylen 14 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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