Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has named Noah Lolesio and Joe Powell to start in the Super Rugby AU Grand Final against the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
20-year-old Lolesio returns to the side after recovering from a hamstring injury in July and will be partnered by fellow Wallabies squad member Joe Powell who starts after being rested in the side’s last regular fixture of the season.
An all-Wallabies front row sees Scott Sio at loosehead prop alongside Folau Fainga’a at hooker and skipper Allan Alaalatoa in the tighthead prop position.
The mobile Murray Douglas returns to the starting XV and will partner with Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.
Vice-captain Lachlan McCaffrey will wear the number six jersey, linking up with Will Miller and Wallabies squad member Pete Samu in the backrow.
Following his selection in his first ever national squad earlier this week, Irae Simone is selected for another start at inside centre, with Tevita Kuridrani lining up for his 135th appearance as a Brumby at outside centre.
It’s a familiar sight in the back three with Andy Muirhead and Tom Wright on the wings and Tom Banks in the number 15 jersey.
Academy graduate Connal McInerney will again be relied upon as the back up hooker with James Slipper and Tom Ross the other front row replacements.
First year Super Rugby lock Nick Frost and the powerful Rob Valetini are the other forward finishers.
Wallabies number nine Nic White will provide energy as a replacement during the match with the versatile Bayley Kuenzle and damaging Solomone Kata rounding out the matchday 23.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “As a team we’re really happy for Noah. He was playing good footy before his setback, he’s done a lot of work to get himself right and trained very well over the last two weeks. We’ve got full confidence and belief in his ability.”
“To be able to play a home Final in front of our family and our supporters is something we set out to do at the start of this competition and we can’t wait for that opportunity.
“We’ve prepared well over the last two weeks and we know the Reds are going to be a huge challenge on Saturday night but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Brumbies: Tom Bankes, Andy Muirhead, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Joe Powell, Pete Samu, Will Miller, Lachlan McCaffrey, Caderny Neville, Murray Douglas, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio. Reserves: Connal McInerney, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Bayley Kuenzle, Solomone Kata.
– Brumbies Rugby
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