McKellar tweaks Brumbies for playoff 'Hail Mary'
Cape Town - Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar has made two changes to the starting XV for the trip to Sydney to tackle the Waratahs this weekend.
McKellar has selected Scott Sio at loosehead prop and paired Richie Arnold with twin brother Rory for the first time in Super Rugby, as the Brumbies go looking for the bonus-point win that would give them a chance of playing in the playoffs.
Sio will team up with fellow Wallabies international Allan Alaalatoa either side of the impressive hooker Folau Fainga’a in the heart of the engine room in what is sure to be a colossal front row battle with the club’s perennial rivals from New South Wales.
Blake Enever shifts from lock to flanker to compensate for the inclusion of Richie Arnold, with Tom Cusack unavailable, after the flanker suffered a head-knock in Hamilton against the Chiefs in Round 18. David Pocock and Isi Naisarani join Enever in the backrow.
The backline remains unchanged for the sixth straight game having crossed for a combined total of fifteen tries in that time-frame between them.
Joe Powell and Christian Lealiifano will continue to provide quick and decisive ball with the centre pairing of Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani creating ample space for the back three.
Leading scorers Tom Banks (eight tries) and Henry Speight (seven tries) are joined by Andrew Muirhead who has crossed for three tries in his last four outings, creating plenty of problems for opposition defences with his pace and electric footwork.
Co-captain Sam Carter meanwhile is recalled to the squad and is on the replacements bench where he is joined by prop Nic Mayhew who started the match in New Zealand, hooker Connal McInerney, prop Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin and flank Lachlan McCaffrey in a 5/3 split.
Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera and Lausii Taliauli are named as the backline finishers as the Brumbies aim to get the win that would see them retain the Dan Vickerman Cup.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 11:45 SA time.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Alex Newsome, 23 Bryce Hegarty
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Blake Enever, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Les Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli