White benched by Brumbies
Melbourne - The Brumbies have sprung a surprise by benching Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White for their Super Rugby match against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has been replaced by Michael Dowsett, who will make his starting debut in the home match at Canberra Stadium, in one of five changes to the injury-depleted starting side.
White, capped 19 times for Australia, had a quiet game in the Brumbies' shock loss to the Auckland Blues last week but assistant coach Dan McKellar said the player just needed a rest.
"It's always been on the agenda to give White-y a freshen-up," McKellar told reporters.
"His game last week doesn't have anything to do with the selection. It's just about keeping guys fresh, and making sure that guys aren't just constantly sitting on the pine.
"Michael Dowsett is a contracted player and we've got to back him, and we've got full confidence he'll do a really good job on Saturday."
Top of the Australian conference, the Canberra-based team have been hit with a raft of injuries and will go into the match without Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani and flyhalf Matt Toomua, who faces up to six weeks on the sidelines.
Christian Lealiifano will take over the number 10 shirt in Toomua's absence, with Lausii Taliauli starting on the wing in place of the injured James Dargaville and JP Smith replacing hurt loosehead prop Scott Sio.
Dowsett said the replacements would be ready to step up into their roles.
"Over the last three years I think we've been able to improve the depth at the Brumbies so when injuries do come along they can be filled and we don't miss a beat," the 23-year-old said in a team statement.
15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Lausii
Taliauli, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Nigel Ah Wong, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian
Lealiifano, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy,
5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 JP
Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan
Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Nic White, 23 Rodney