Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar has made six changes as his side tries to get their season back on track against the Sharks at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
There are a trio of changes in both the backs and the forwards for the test against the South African franchise, a repeat fixture of the Brumbies initial home match of the 2017 season.
With hooker Josh Mann-Rea sidelined for a lengthy period with a bad hamstring injury, and fellow rake Robbie Abel also unavailable, there’s a Super Rugby starting debut for Folau Fainga’a who was mightily impressive when coming on as a replacement in Melbourne.
The other forward changes see Blake Enever into the starting team in place of captain Sam Carter, who packs down at lock alongside Rory Arnold, whilst there’s a straight swap in the back row as Tom Cusack comes in for Lolo Fakaosilea who is included on a strong looking bench.
In the backs, McKellar has opted for an interesting ten-twelve combination with Wharenui Hawera selected at flyhalf and Christian Lealiifano moving to inside centre in place of Kyle Godwin.
There’s also two changes in the back three as Henry Speight is the only player from the match at AAMI Park to retain his spot. Lausii Taliauli is drafted into the left-wing position in place of Chance Peni, whilst Andrew Muirhead makes his first Super Rugby start from fullback.
Amongst the replacements, there are three more new faces from the defeat to the Rebels as Nic Mayhew returns at back-up prop in place of Faalelei Sione, with utility back James Dargaville named for the first time this season.
After thumping the Sunwovles last week, Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has made just two changes to his starting side.
There is one change apiece to the forwards and backline.
Thomas du Toit returns to pack down at tighthead with John-Hubert Meyer shifting to the bench. In the backline, there is a rotational change with Jacobus van Wyk replacing Sibusiso Nkosi.
The Sharks have also been boosted by the return of Jean-Luc du Preez from injury. The Bok is included on the bench for Saturday’s match.
15. Curwin Bosch, 14. Jacobus van Wyk, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Lubabalo Mtembu, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 6. Wian Vosloo, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Ruan Botha (C), 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Armand van der Merwe, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16. Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. John-Hubert Meyer, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Jean-Luc du Preez, 21. Cameron Wright, 22. Marius Louw, 23. Lwazi Mvovo.
15. Andrew Muirhead, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Lausii Taliauli, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Tom Cusack, 6. Lachlan Mccaffrey, 5. Blake Enever, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 1. Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16. Connal Mcinerney, 17. Nic Mayhew, 18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Richie Arnold, 20. Lolo Fakaosilea, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. James Dargaville, 23. Tom Banks.
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