Henry Speight returns to the wing for his first appearance since fracturing his jaw in round 5 when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Australia’s top try-scorer in 2012 and 2013, Speight has been limited to just four appearances for the UC Brumbies in 2014, after collecting a loose elbow against the Waratahs which required surgery.
But since then, Speight has returned to full health and is now ready to climb into the Cheetahs. He comes into the team for Joe Tomane who fractures his eye socket last week against the Sharks.
South African born JP Smith returns to the bench in place of Ruaidhri Murphy in an otherwise unchanged team from the one which beat the Sharks in Canberra last Saturday.
Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said the Cheetahs presented the UC Brumbies with a significant challenge.
“The Cheetahs are a side we haven’t beaten in Africa since 2009 and who always put in a strong performance against the Brumbies,” Fisher said.
“It’s pleasing to have a guy like Henry available for selection. We all know how dangerous he is with the ball so it’ll be good to see him take advantage of any opportunities which may come his way.
“We are focussed on getting this tour off to a good start and claiming a win over the Cheetahs on the High-Veldt would certainly tick a few boxes.”
The last time the UC Brumbies visited Bloemfontein was in 2011 when the team was soundly beaten, 47-36. Despite finishing fast that evening, the UC Brumbies could not overcome a 32-24 halftime deficit.
Then-Cheetah, Sias Ebersohn landed 21 points off the boot, with the Cheetahs scoring three tries and a 60 metre field goals inside the first 11 minutes to stun the UC Brumbies into submission.
The Cheetahs are currently running 14th, with two wins from their 12 appearances in 2014. But having created history in 2013 and gone inches from knocking the UC Brumbies off at home in a nail-biting Super Rugby Quarter Final, the visitors will not be taking the Cheetahs lightly.
Cheetahs v UC Brumbies
Free State Rugby Stadium
Kick-off: 3.10am Sunday AEST (7.10pm, Saturday local time)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
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. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ruan Smith
18. JP Smith
19. Jordan Smiler
20. Tom McVerry
21. Conrad Hoffmann
22. Andrew Smith
23. Pat McCabe