Brumbies make five changes for Sharks
March 15, 2013
George Smith has been promoted from the bench to replace injured David Pocock © Getty Images
Brumbies coach Jake White has made five changes to his undefeated starting line-up, to bulk up for the Super Rugby match against the Sharks in Durban.
Scott Sio (prop), George Smith (openside flanker), Fotu Auelua (No.8), Tevita Kuridrani (outside centre) and Joe Tomane (wing) have all been promoted into the starting XV as the Brumbies, three from three this season, face their biggest challenge of the campaign to date against last year's Super Rugby runners-up.
Smith was a forced change after regular No. 7 David Pocock tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, against New South Wales Waratahs, and he features as part of a heavily reworked pack after White opted for more firepower seemingly to ensure the Brumbies are not outmuscled by their big South African opponents.
Peter Kimlin moves to the second-row, replacing Scott Fardy, who has been dropped to the bench, and captain Ben Mowen switches from the back of the scrum to blindside flanker.
Tight-head prop Dan Palmer has been given a week off to give 116kg prop Sio his run-on debut. "Scotty Sio has been working hard on his set-piece and fitness and its nice to be able to hand him his first starting jersey," White said.
Former Australia under-20 skipper Colby Faingaa will also feature on the Brumbies' bench to cover for Smith.
"Traditionally this has been one of the Brumbies's biggest games of the season," White said. "To come away from Durban with four points is a huge challenge, but one the team feels comfortable with."
Outside centre Andrew Smith has been dropped from the Brumbies matchday 22 for the first time since 2011, White opting for the 196cm Fiji-born Kuridrani. South Africa-born Clyde Rathbone has also been moved to the bench for the first time since returning to Super Rugby, with Joe Tomane being promoted to the starting line-up alongside fellow winger Henry Speight.
Team: Jesse Mogg; Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane; Matt Toomua, Nic White; Fotu Auelua, George Smith, Ben Mowen (captain); Sam Carter, Peter Kimlin; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Replacements: Siliva Siliva, Ruaidhri Murphy, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Robbie Coleman, Clyde Rathbone.