Super Rugby
Jarrad Butler replaces David Pocock
March 7, 2014
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview Super Rugby round four, game by game

Jarrad Butler has been given the huge task of filling the boots of Australia's two greatest modern-day flankers against the Hurricanes on Friday.

The unheralded Queensland-bred back-rower gets his chance at openside for the Brumbies in Wellington after David Pocock went down late in Saturday's Super Rugby win over Western Force in Perth. Pocock underwent an arthroscopy on Wednesday to confirm he had re-ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and he subsequently had a full reconstruction - the same surgery he had in 2013 after round four.

George Smith filled in for Pocock last season, and it remains unclear whether he'll answer another SOS; meanwhile, Butler will be given first crack in the prized No.7 jumper after impressing at No.8 in the past two weeks. Butler's audition sets off a chain reaction in the forwards, with Leon Power in at lock, Scott Fardy moving to blindside, and skipper Ben Mowen back to No.8.

Butler, a big man at 106kg, won't be as effective a ball scavenger as Pocock and Smith, but that's of little concern to Mowen, who has played down concerns the re-jigged forward pack won't be mobile enough to combat a dynamic Hurricanes back-row that includes Samoa international Jack Lam and the impressive young Ardie Savea off the bench.

"The strength of our forward pack is that everyone is reasonably athletic," Mowen said. "We've got guys that play hard on the ball, good lineout options, good tacklers, so we've just got to make sure we all get stuck in and share that load."

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, meanwhile, said last year's finalists would present an important measuring stick for his side after starting their season with two losses in South Africa.

"We're not far off," Hammett said. "Certainly that second game, we should have won. We're under no illusions how important it is to start well at home."

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg; Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, Robbie Coleman; Matt Toomua, Nic White; Ben Mowen (captain), Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy; Sam Carter, Leon Power; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Replacements: Josh MannRea, Ruan Smith, JP Smith, Jordan Smiler, Lachlan McCaffrey, Conrad Hoffman, Pat McCabe, Lionel Cronje.


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