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    1 change to Brumbies starting XV

    2018-04-12 12:07

    Canberra - Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made one change to his starting XV for their trip to Dunedin to tackle the Highlanders on Saturday (kick-off 09:35 SA time).

    Tom Cusack comes into the starting line-up in place of the injured Lachlan McCaffrey who suffered a dislocated elbow in the convincing 45-21 victory over the Reds last weekend.

    There are a further three changes amongst the replacements, the most notable being the inclusion of Tuggeranong Vikings flanker Michael Oakman-Hunt, who will make his debut if he comes on.

    Oakman-Hunt was a part of the Vikings National Rugby Championship team that reached the final of the competition this season, where they lost to Queensland Country at Viking Park.

    Elsewhere, prop Nick Mayhew is recalled to the squad in place of Faalelei Sione whilst Andrew Smith is included for the first time in 2018, coming on to the bench in place of James Verity-Amm, who won his first Brumbies cap against the Reds.

    The starting team has a settled look to it with McKellar keeping faith with the group that scored seven tries in succession in retaining the Rod Macqueen Cup in Canberra against the Reds.

    Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa pack down either side of hooker Folau Fainga’a, whilst Rory Arnold and Blake Enever comprise the second-row pairing, the former having scored a superb breakaway try last week.

    With Cusack coming into the team, David Pocock and Isi Naisarani continue in the backrow in a pack that scored five of the teams tries against the Queenslanders.

    Behind the scrum Matt Lucas remains at scrumhalf with Wharenui Hawera at pivot. Co-captain Christian Lealiifano and Tevita Kuridrani form the centre pairing for the fourth game in succession, and it’s an unchanged back three, with Chance Peni and James Dargaville on the wings and Tom Banks at fullback.

    Co-captain Sam Carter, who crossed the whitewash last week as a replacement, will no doubt add impetus when called upon and he is joined by hooker Robbie Abel, prop Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, scrumhalf Joe Powell and utility Kyle Godwin as the finishers.

    Teams:

    Highlanders

    15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

    Brumbies

    15 Tom Banks, 14 James Dargaville, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano (co-captain), 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio

    Substitutes: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter (co-captain), 20 Michael Oakman-Hunt, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Andrew Smith

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