Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has handed the reins to teenage playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa who will start at flyhalf against the Western Force in their pre-season clash in Canberra on Tuesday.
Pasitoa is joined by fellow playmaker Rod Iona in the side’s only preseason hitout, Iona making a remarkable return to Brumbies colours, last appearing for the side in 2015.
The former Samoan International will link with 2020 Wallabies squad member Len Ikitau who will wear the number 13 jersey for the first time since making his debut for the club in 2019.
A familiar front row of Wallaby trio James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a and skipper Allan Alaalatoa will excite the Brumbies faithful when they get their first look at the side for the year.
Darcy Swain starts at lock on his club’s home ground at Viking Park, partnering the hulking Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.
A dynamic loose forward trio sees Wallabies Rob Valetini and Pete Samu combine with Jahrome Brown who will pull on the Brumbies strip for the first time in over a year.
Adding experience to the halves duo will be Nic White who will wear the familiar number nine jersey alongside Pasitoa in 10.
The ever reliable Andy Muirhead will take his place on the left wing with Canberra product Mack Hansen showing his versatility on the righthand touchline. Tom Banks rounds out the starting side at fullback.
The Brumbies will keep Scott Sio and Noah Lolesio fresh while the replacements will also feature last year’s grand final team members Tom Ross, Connal McInerney and Nick Frost, alongside fellow familiar faces of Harry Lloyd, Lachlan Lonergan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Ryan Lonergan.
New recruits James Tucker and Reece Tapine will get their first taste in their new colours tomorrow evening.
2021 Brumbies academy graduates Tom Hooper, Rory Scott and Luke Reimer will all be on show on, with current pathways players Junior Tupou, Tom Haddad and Corey Toole also expected to receive game time.
Brumbies boss McKellar said: “It’s really exciting to be back on the field and talking about playing football matches again.”
“The players are buzzing and as coaches, we’ll be looking to make sure everyone gets a good hit out under their belt ahead of what’s going to be a really competitive Super Rugby AU season.
“Reesjan is a developing nicely and this will be a good opportunity for him to get some valuable game time against a team that’s got a lot of quality across the park.”
1. James Slipper
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Cadeyrn Neville
6. Rob Valetini
7. Jahrome Brown
8. Pete Samu
9. Nic White
10. Reesjan Pasitoa
11. Andy Muirhead
12. Rod Iona
13. Len Ikitau
14. Mack Hansen
15. Tom Banks
– Brumbies Rugby
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