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    Rathbone to face Cheetahs

    2013-07-19 07:47
    George Smith (File)

    Sydney - The Brumbies received a boost ahead of their Super Rugby playoff against the Cheetahs when influential scrumhalf Nic White was passed fit to start Sunday's match in Canberra.

    Openside flank George Smith, who won his 111th Test cap against the British and Irish Lions two weeks ago, also returns to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in last week's shock defeat to Western Force.

    Coach Jake White also sprang something of a surprise on Friday by bringing former Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone into his run-on side in place of current Australia international Joe Tomane.

    White, 22, has not played since fracturing his collarbone against the Melbourne Rebels on June 7, the match which secured the twice champions a place in post-season play for the first time since they won their second title in 2004.

    Both Smith and Rathbone started the victory over the Crusaders in the final nine years ago and neither would have been considered likely to feature at the start of the year.

    Rathbone returned to the Brumbies on a one-year contract after three years in retirement, while Smith needed the permission of his Japanese club Suntory to extend his stay in Canberra after a season-ending injury to David Pocock.

    "Bringing two guys like Clyde and George into our starting side will give us experience when we need it," coach Jake White said in a media release.

    "Those two guys have both won championships at Canberra Stadium and it's exciting to have them involved.

    "The Cheetahs are a side which has made huge improvements over the last two seasons and it's a credit to them that they are now a competition threat."

    A win for the Brumbies on Sunday would send them to South Africa to face the Bulls in the semi-finals next weekend and the winner of the other playoff clash between Canterbury Crusaders and Queensland Reds to Hamilton to face the Chiefs.

    If the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs manage an upset in their first playoff match, they would go to New Zealand with the Crusaders or Reds making the long trip to Pretoria to play the second-seeded Bulls.


    Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy , 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.

    Substitutes: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Joe Tomane.

    Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Rynhardt Landman, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen

    Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Rayno Benjamin

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