Butler gets the nod at No.8 against the Reds

Jarrad Butler will start at No. 8 on UC Brumbies debut taking on his former team mates, the Queensland Reds, for the 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby season opener this Saturday night.

An aged grade super star who represented Australia at schools and Under 20s levels, Butler earned 12 caps for the Reds between 2012 and 2013 before making the move south over Christmas to take up a contract with the UC Brumbies.

From the side which contested the Super Rugby Final last August there are several changes, most notably Captain Ben Mowen moving to blind-side flanker and the inclusion of Pat McCabe at inside-centre.

2013’s tight five of Scott Sio, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Scott Fardy and Sam Carter remains intact, while David Pocock returns from injury at open-side flanker with Mowen and Butler filling out the back-row.

Nic White has earned first crack at the No. 9 jersey and will be matched in the halves by his Wallabies partner, Matt Toomua.

McCabe and Smith fill the centres, while Joe Tomane, Henry Speight (wings) and Jesse Mogg (fullback) make up the back three.

The bench is where the most changes have occurred, with Lionel Cronje (flyhalf), Conrad Hoffmann (scrumhalf) and Lachlan McCaffrey (back-row) all in line to make their UC Brumbies debuts.

They are joined by regulars Siliva Siliva, Ruan Smith, Ruaidhri Murphy, Leon Power and Tevita Kuridrani.

Head Coach Stephen Larkham said it was important to get the season off to a solid start.

“It’s important to start the season well – we aren’t resting on results from last year we realise this is a totally new opportunity, but winning games first up is important for confidence and rhythm, that’s why teams concentrate so hard on the first round.

“We did have a successful year last year, we know the formula that worked for us last year and we won’t be going too far away from that this year, but in saying that we can certainly look at improving how we play out of our own half.”

Saturday, 22 February
UC Brumbies v Reds
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
Kick-off: 7.40pm
Referee: James Leckie

University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Mowen (C)
7. David Pocock
8. Jarrad Butler
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Joe Tomane
12. Pat McCabe
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg

16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruan Smith
18. Ruaidhri Murphy
19. Leon Power
20. Lachlan McCaffrey
21. Conrad Hoffmann
22. Tevita Kuridrani
23. Lionel Cronje