Lealiifano at centre for Sharks clash
Canberra - Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made six changes to his team for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Sharks at GIO Stadium (kick-off 10:45 SA time).
There are a trio of changes in both the backline and the forward pack.
With hooker Josh Mann-Rea sidelined for a lengthy period with a bad hamstring injury, and fellow rake Robbie Abel also unavailable, there’s a Super Rugby starting debut for Folau Fainga’a who impressed when coming on as a replacement in the 33-10 loss to the Rebels in Melbourne.
The other forward changes see Blake Enever coming into the starting team in place of Sam Carter, packing down at lock alongside Rory Arnold, whilst there’s a straight swap in the back row as Tom Cusack comes in for Lolo Fakaosilea who is included on a strong looking bench.
In the backline, McKellar has opted for an interesting 10-12 combination with Wharenui Hawera selected at flyhalf and Christian Lealiifano moving to inside centre in place of Kyle Godwin.
There are also two changes in the back three as Henry Speight is the only player from the match against the Rebels to retain his spot.
Lausii Taliauli is drafted into the left-wing position in place of Chance Peni, whilst Andrew Muirhead makes his first Super Rugby start from fullback.
Among the replacements, there are three more new faces from the defeat to the Rebels as Nic Mayhew returns at back-up prop in place of Faalelei Sione, with utility back James Dargaville named for the first time this season.
Hooker Connal McInerney is also set to win his maiden Brumbies cap from the bench.
15 Andrew Muirhead, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Tom Banks
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Stephan Lewis, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitites: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo