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Brumbies' X-factor ruled out of quarter-final as team named

By AAP
Corey Toole of the Brumbies watches on during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, on February 24, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The setbacks keep coming for the ACT Brumbies ahead of their blockbuster Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final against the Hurricanes with star winger Corey Toole ruled out through injury.

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Their biggest X-factor talent joins injured captain Allan Alaalatoa on the sidelines, while gun five-eighth Noah Lolesio will come off the bench on Saturday night at GIO Stadium in Canberra as he returns from concussion symptoms suffered a fortnight back.

It’s not the news the Brumbies needed as they try and keep their season alive, tasked with beating a Hurricanes side that boasts a win against them this campaign, albeit in New Zealand.

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Ollie Sapsford shifts from the centres to cover Toole’s wing, while Jack Debreczeni continues in the halves as Lolesio starts from the bench.

Toole tweaked a calf in their win against Melbourne on the weekend after scoring an impressive try early in the piece.

It leaves them with some serious bench punch, Lolesio set to close the game with Wallabies halfback hopeful Ryan Lonergan who’ll come on for starter Nic White.

There’s some positive news though, with hooker Lachie Lonergan and prop James Slipper both back to greatly strengthen their front row.

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Coach Stephen Larkham admitted losing Toole was a blow, but backed in former New Zealand league talent Sapsford to put in a shift.

“It’s disappointing for ‘Tooley’ to miss out, but he was just not right to go and Ollie has played a lot of rugby on the wing for Hawke’s Bay so we know he’ll do a job for us,” he said.

“This is the time of year everyone plays for and we’re in a good place heading into a massive challenge against the Hurricanes.”

Toole has played himself into Wallabies calculations with a stunning debut campaign, bagging nine tries in 13 games.

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Brumbies: James Slipper, Lachlan Lonergan, Sefo Kautai, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Pete Samu, Nic White, Jack Debreczeni, Ollie Sapsford, Tamati Tua, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright. Reserves: Connal McInerney, Blake Schoupp, Rhys Van Nek, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Noah Lolesio, Jesse Mogg.

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Jon 3 hours ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up there with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s (over the years), I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

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