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Irae Simone returns for Brumbies battle with Chiefs but hat-trick hooker out with a toe injury

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made three changes to the starting side ahead of their match against the Chiefs at FMG Stadium in Waikato on Saturday evening.

Inside centre Irae Simone has overcome sickness to take his place in the side, once again partnering Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield.

Last week’s hat-trick scorer Folau Fainga’a has been replaced at hooker after suffering a toe injury, with Connal McInerney earning his first start of the season.

Andy Muirhead is named on the wing for the first time in 2020 with Toni Pulu set to see his first minutes of the year against his former club from the pine.

The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Joe Powell and Noah Lolesio set to continue to build on their combination in the halves.

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Australian Under 20s representative Lachlan Lonergan is in line for a potential Super Rugby debut from the bench, named alongside older brother Ryan as a replacement.

Young playmaker Bayley Kuenzle makes his return to the side from the bench while fullback Tom Banks is set to bring up his 50th Super Rugby cap this weekend.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “It’s great to have a guy like Irae back in the squad, he brings a lot of experience and gives the team confidence when he’s out on the field.”

“Connal has been performing really well for us as a finisher so it’s a good reward for him to get his first start of the season. It also means we get to see Lachlan make his Super Rugby debut which is a special moment for him and his family, especially alongside his brother.

“We know the Chiefs are playing well and we respect them as the side but we’ve going over there full of confidence and are looking to come away with the win.”

Brumbies: Tom Banks, Solomone Kata, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Noah Lolesio, Joe Powell, Pete Samu, Will Miller, Rob Valeteni, Murray Douglas, Cadeyrn Neville, Allan Alaalatoa, Connal McInerney, James Slipper. Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Lachlan McCaffrey, Ryan Lonergan, Bayley Kuenzle, Toni Pulu.

– Brumbies Rugby

WATCH: Brumbies backs Andy Muirhead and Toni Pulu spoke to the media ahead of this weekend’s match.

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Irae Simone returns for Brumbies battle with Chiefs but hat-trick hooker out with a toe injury
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