Super 14
Mortlock and Ashley-Cooper in for Brumbies
February 3, 2009
Brumbies skipper Stirling Mortlock gives a team-talk, Brumbies v Lions, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, April 25, 2008
Stirling Mortlock will switch to inside-centre against the Waratahs © Getty Images

The Brumbies will have an all-Wallaby centre partnership in Stirling Mortlock and Adam Ashley-Cooper for their final Super 14 trial match against the Waratahs on Thursday. Mortlock starts at inside-centre with Ashely-Cooper taking his usual role at No.13.

"We're in a very fortunate position given the depth and flexibility within our backline," said Brumbies boss Andy Friend. "Adam's an extremely versatile player and has performed in each position he's been put in but I believe that outside centre is his best position. He's a very powerful athlete, he's got the pace to expose any space out wide and defensively he's very sound.

"Having Stirling closer to the action will also have significant benefits. He was outstanding at giving the Wallabies a lot of direction when he was at '12' last year and he will be able to provide a lot of assistance to [fly-half] Christian [Lealiifano], who I thought was excellent the other night [against the Hurricanes].

"Both of them [Mortlock and Ashley-Cooper] are aggressive, powerful ball runners and using them both in the centres will definitely test any opposition defensive line."

The Brumbies are also able to field the all-international front-row of Ben Alexander, Nic Henderson and Stephen Moore. Hooker Moore will make his first appearance since joining from the Reds, while lock Ben Hand will also make his first showing alongside Mark Chisholm. George Smith starts alongside Stephen Hoiles and Peter Kimlin in the back-row.

Friend has also named a Brumbies XV to play a further warm-up game against a Young Waratahs XV Prior to the main trial, allowing Huia Edmonds (knee), Gene Fairbanks (neck) and Mitch Chapman (shoulder) to return from injury.

Waratahs boss Chris Hickey has retained a strong line-up for the game, with Benn Robinson, Adam Freier and Al Baxter looking to counter the Brumbies bulk up front. Dean Mumm and Will Caldwell are the locks, while Phil Waugh, Scott Fava and Ben Mowen start in the back-row.

Kurtley Beale starts at fly-half, with Brett Sheehan at No.9. Lachie Turner, Sam Norton-Knight and Lote Tuqiri will look to inject some pace from the back-three.

"There's a number of players who started on the bench last week and they get the opportunity to have a go from kick-off on Thursday," said Hickey. "We started with Tatafu [Polota-Nau], Daniel Halangahu, Timana Tahu and Luke Burgess last Friday, this week Adam [Freier], Kurtley [Beale], Brett Sheehan and Rob Horne will all get a chance to start.

"Everyone will get game time and by the end of the match we're hoping we will have gathered enough information from the three trial fixtures to pick our best possible squad for round one in Wellington."

Brumbies: Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Nic Henderson, Ben Hand, Mark Chisholm, Peter Kimlin, George Smith, Stephen Hoiles (capt), Joshua Holmes, Christian Lealiifano, Francis Fainifo, Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Clyde Rathbone, Mark Gerrard

Replacements: John Ulugia, Guy Shepherdson, Shawn Mackay, Sitaleki Timani, Patrick Phibbs, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Julian Salvi, Matt Toomua, Pat McCabe

Waratahs: Benn Robinson, Adam Freier, Al Baxter, Dean Mumm, Will Caldwell, Ben Mowen, Phil Waugh (capt), Scott Fava, Brett Sheehan, Kurtley Beale, Lote Tuqiri, Tom Carter, Rob Horne, Lachie Turner, Sam Norton-Knight

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Tilse, Chris Thomson, Beau Robinson, Luke Burgess, Daniel Halangahu, Peter Playford, Dan Palmer, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Timana Tahu, Tim Bennetts, Sitiveni Mafi

Brumbies XV: Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Huia Edmonds, Guy Shepherdson, Shawn Mackay, Sitaleki Timani, Mitchell Chapman, Talalelei Gray, Julian Salvi (capt), Patrick Phibbs, Matt Toomua, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Gene Fairbanks, Sanualio Afeaki, Brent Hamlin, Pat McCabe

Replacements: Nathan Charles, Salesi Ma'afu, Tevita Metuisula, Sokai Tai, James Stannard, Tyrone Smith, Dan Yakopo, Ben Tyler, Steven Noriega

Young Waratahs:Martin Plotskys, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tim Archibald, Kane Douglas, Phil Mathers, Sitiveni Mafi, Pat McCutcheon (capt), Lachie McCaffrey, Jeremy Su'a, Mark Preston, Damon Anderson, Tim Bennetts, Mitch Inman, Greg Jeloudev, Nick Reily,

Replacements: Nath Nicol, Mike Ross, Kingsley Seale, Sam Latunipulu, Ed Bredenhann, Harry Bennett, Michael McDougall, Salesi Manu, Kotoni Ale


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