Vodacom Super 14
Rathbone back for Brumbies
In the starting XV (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Brumbies have made two changes to their starting line-up for their Super 14 clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:00 SA time.
Blindside flank Mitchell Chapman makes his first appearance for 2009, after returning from off-season shoulder surgery. He will start on the side of the scrum and replace Peter Kimlin, who has been named on the bench.
Clyde Rathbone has been recalled to the starting XV on the left wing at the venue and against the side for which he made his Super Rugby debut for in 2002.
Rathbone played three matches for the Durban-based side before linking with the Brumbies prior to the 2003 Super 12 season.
Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock and No 8 Julian Salvi have been named in the side after both suffered knocks against the Lions.
Gene Fairbanks (neck) and Alfi Mafi (ankle) are set to make their return from long term injuries, with Mafi in line to make his debut for the Brumbies after joining the side from the Waratahs for the 2009 Super 14 season.
Brumbies head coach Andy Friend said the return of Chapman, Fairbanks and Mafi from injury further enhances the depth within the squad.
"Mitch has been around Super 14 rugby for a long time and we don't expect him to have any trouble in slotting straight into the starting line-up," he said.
"Like Pete (Kimlin) he gives a genuine option in the line-out and helps give some bulk to the pack against what is a very tough and physical Sharks side.
"It's also pleasing to be able to select Gene and Alfi for the first time this season. Gene is a senior member of the side and is a player who will give plenty of direction when he's on the field. Alfi's shown in his two appearances for Runners, where he scored four tries, that he's ready to return to Super 14 rugby. He's worked his backside off to return from injury and he's champing at the bit to get his first opportunity of the season."
Prop Salesi Ma'afu rejoins the squad after running on against Waratahs a fortnight ago and has been included on an extended eight-man bench, with one player to be omitted prior to kick-off on Saturday.Brumbies:
15. Mark Gerrard, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Stirling Mortlock, 12. Tyrone Smith, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Joshua Holmes, 8. Julian Salvi, 7. George Smith (captain), 6. Mitchell Chapman, 5. Mark Chisholm, 4. Ben Hand, 3. Guy Shepherdson, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander.
Replacements - from: Huia Edmonds, Salesi Ma'afu, Shawn Mackay, Peter Kimlin, Patrick Phibbs, Gene Fairbanks, Alfi Mafi, Matt Toomua