Auelua back to face the Sharks

Fotu Auelua returns to the starting line-up for the first time in 2014 when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday.

Auelua is the only change to the UC Brumbies starting side which went down to the Crusaders last weekend, with Jordan Smiler dropping back to the bench and Jack Whetton out of the game-day 23.

The 120kg, Samoan wrecking ball from Sydney’s West has been recovering from a knee injury he suffered during the UC Brumbies trial period, but is now 100 per cent ready to rip into the Sharks forward pack.

A hit-out with Western Districts in the ACT’s John I Dent Cup last week handed Auelua a try and several damaging runs and confirmed to UC Brumbies Director of Rugby, Laurie Fisher that his hulking loose-forward was ready to return.

“Fotu had a good game for Wests last week. He’s been itching to get back on the park for the last month or so, so it’s great to be able to give him a start.

“He brings aggression and physicality to our side, which will be valuable against a big, South African forward pack like the Sharks’.

“The Sharks are leading the competition and have threats right across the park, so an improved performance from last week is vital if we are going to walk away with points.

The UC Brumbies won the last encounter between the two sides, 29-10 in Durban last year. But prior to that the Sharks had managed to roll the UC Brumbies both home and away in 2012 and 2011 – their most recent, 24-22 win at GIO Stadium a heart breaker for UC Brumbies fans.

While Jesse Mogg scored a memorable chip’n’chase try that evening, it was the Sharks outside backs who stole the show scoring two, against the flow tries to claim the win.

Saturday, 10 May
UC Brumbies v Sharks
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.40pm
Referee: Glen Jackson

UC Brumbies
1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Fotu Auelua
7. Jarrad Butler
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Robbie Coleman
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Joe Tomane
15. Jesse Mogg

16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ruan Smith                                           
18. Ruaidhri Murphy                                        
19. Jordan Smiler
20. Tom McVerry
21. Conrad Hoffmann          
22. Andrew Smith
23. Pat McCabe