Clyde slides back into starting spot

Clyde Rathbone returns to the UC Brumbies starting line up for the first time since last year’s Super Rugby Final when the ACT-based team takes on the Rebels at GIO Stadium.

After 10 months out of the game, Rathbone has been preparing for a return to the starting side for the last four weeks and toured South Africa as a reserve.

Robbie Coleman has dropped out of the side for the Rebels match, with Pat McCabe also earning a call up to the starting XV as Jesse Mogg moves back to the bench. McCabe has been at his best in 2014, constantly getting across the advantage line and making plenty of space through gaps.

Ben Alexander has also been benched for Saturday night’s fixture, with Ruan Smith making his first starting appearance for the UC Brumbies since 2013.

On the bench Michael Dowsett returns as Nic White’s understudy for Conrad Hoffmann, leaving the rest of the squad as it was named for last week’s loss to the Bulls.

“The Rebels have played the spoilers in the later stages of the last couple of seasons and will be focussed on knocking us out,” Captain Ben Mowen said.

“Last time we played they managed to control the game and strangled us out of the contest. It’s vital for us to make sure that doesn’t happen again on Saturday night.”

Of the seven times the UC Brumbies and Rebels have faced off, the Victorians have managed two wins – the first (2011) and the last (2014). Although neither of those was in Canberra, the Rebels have shown glimpses of brilliance over the last month, despite being outplayed a week ago in Melbourne against the Waratahs.

Saturday, 31 May
UC Brumbies v Rebels
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.40pm
Referee: Steve Walsh

UC Brumbies
1.  Scott Sio
2.  Stephen Moore
3.  Ruan Smith     
4.  Scott Fardy
5.  Sam Carter     
6.  Fotu Auelua
7.  Jarrad Butler
8.  Ben Mowen  ©
9.  Nic White    
10. Matt Toomua
11.  Clyde Rathbone
12.  Christian Lealiifano  
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Pat McCabe
16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ben Alexander
18. JP Smith
19. Leon Power    
20. Jordan Smiler
21. Michael Dowsett
22. Andrew Smith
23. Jesse Mogg