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Brumbies select a new captain while Jamie Roberts earns first Waratahs start

By AAP
Jamie Roberts. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The unbeaten Brumbies have opted to leave a host of key men in Canberra and named Ryan Lonergan as captain for Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific trip to face the Western Force in Perth.

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Five-eighth Noah Lolesio and Wallabies forwards James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa have been rested after the side’s bruising 16-12 victory over the Queensland Reds, who they’ll play again in Brisbane next week.

That win shot them clear at the top of the ladder as the competition’s only unbeaten team, with ACT product Lonergan now charged with maintaining that record.

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He’ll start in the No.9, pushing another Wallaby Nic White to the bench, while Rod Iona will play alongside him in the No.10 and Scott Sio will join loosehead Sefo Kautai up front.

Lolesio finished the game against the Reds on the bench, but the club is confident he’ll be fit to travel north for a spicy rematch next week.

“We’ve had a squad mentality all season and we’re rotating in a few guys this week who have earned an opportunity and getting valuable recovery into a few players, particularly Allan and Slips who have put big shifts in these first five rounds,” coach Dan McKellar said.

“Seeing Ryan Lonergan lead the team out will be a proud day for everyone at the club and in ACT rugby who have watched him come through as a kid but it’s a responsibility he is more than ready for and not much will change for him.”

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Kyle Godwin, Santiago Medrano, Kane Koteka and Toni Pulu will return for the Force, who snuck home against the Fijian Drua last week.

The Waratahs will be steered by fresh-faced pair Jack Grant and Tane Edmed in the No 9 and 10 jerseys respectively, sons of former Balmain NSWRL teammates James Grant and Steve Edmed, against the Reds on Saturday.

Regular five-eighth Ben Donaldson will miss the clash with a calf injury, while Welsh international Jamie Roberts will start at inside centre with Izaia Perese (Covid-19 protocols) unavailable.

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The Reds will welcome back captain Tate McDermott from an ankle injury, while Jordan Petaia will again wear the No 15.

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Coach Brad Thorn will wait on the outcome of Wednesday’s judiciary hearing, optimistic he’ll have the services of prop Taniela Tupou.

Meanwhile, hooker Zuriel Togiatama has earned his first start for Fijian Drua against the winless Melbourne Rebels, who will likely debut 19-year-old academy product Daniel Maiava from the bench on Friday.

The Drua beat the Rebels in round three and have followed that up with two tight losses to the Reds and Force.

“We’re getting more belief in what we’re doing and realising that when we play well, we’re in this competition,” Drua coach Mick Byrne said.

“Words like belief are living words – you get it by living it – and our belief is getting stronger every week so we’re delivering better.”

– Murray Wenzel

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B.J. Spratt 1 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

N.Z. Under 20'‘s concede 7 tries to France Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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