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The University of Canberra Brumbies have named their team to take on the Western Force in the Week 1 clash at Canberra Stadium this Friday night.
Head Coach Jake White has named six debutants, two of which have been selected in the starting line-up. Jesse Mogg will feature on the wing, while Leon Power has been called into the team at lock.
On the bench Ruaidhri Murphy, Scott Fardy, Zack Holmes and Joe Tomane have also been given the nod for the season opener.
Mogg and Power have both enjoyed successful pre-seasons at the University of Canberra Brumbies having come from different places to join the squad late last year. Mogg has been a part of the Brumbies Academy for the last two years and was also impressive during the 2011 John I Dent Cup with Wests.
Power has arrived from over the Tasman, working his way through the ITM Cup with the Bay of Plenty Steamers to a fulltime Super Rugby contract.
An aged grade All Black, Power has visited his past to claim a spot with the University of Canberra Brumbies having been born in Australia only to move across the ditch at the age of six.
For Mogg, the chance to face the Force on Friday night was the culmination of two years’ hard work.
“I’ve been in Canberra for a while now and the goal has always been to play for the Brumbies, so it’s encouraging to see that my hard work has been recognised,” Mogg said.
“Jake has told me to play my natural game, not to do anything special, just to do what I normally do.
“I see myself as a good attacking player, there are areas of my game that I will continually be working on but I’m confident of having an impact at Super Rugby level.”
Like Mogg, Power will be looking to impose himself on the game early to settle his nerves.
At 2m tall, Power will be a valuable asset in the University of Canberra Brumbies line-out, which is likely to compete against some of the best jumpers in Australian rugby like Nathan Sharpe and Sam Wykes.
“The line-out is somewhere I can see myself having an impact and something I’d like to be known for as my career progresses,” Power said.
“In New Zealand we play a very physical game in the forwards – I enjoy the heavy contact and I expect there will be plenty of that at this level of rugby.
“The Force has a quality team and will be difficult at the line-out, but we have trained well this week and I’m confident things will run smoothly.”
From the back three, White has selected Henry Speight on the opposite wing to Mogg and Robbie Coleman at fullback. The rest of the backline includes Nic White at scrumhalf, Matt Toomua at flyhalf, Christian Lealiifano at inside centre and Andrew Smith at outside centre.
The front row is all class, with Ben Alexander (loose-head), Stephen Moore (hooker) and Dan Palmer (tight-head) leading the charge up front.
Power is joined by Sam Carter in the second row, with Ita Vaea (open-side flanker), Peter Kimlin (blind-side flanker) and Ben Mowen (No. 8) the loose-forwards.
Anthony Hegarty, Michael Hooper and Ian Prior join debutants Murphy, Fardy, Holmes and Tomane on the bench.
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Dan Palmer
4. Leon Power
5. Sam Carter
6. Peter Kimlin
7. Ita Vaea
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Jesse Mogg
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Robbie Coleman
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Scott Fardy
19. Michael Hooper
20. Ian Prior
21. Zack Holmes
22. Joe Tomane
Friday, 24 February
University of Canberra Brumbies v Western Force
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
Referee: Bryce Lawrence
• Tonight is the eighth match between the University of Canberra Brumbies and the Western Force, with nothing separating the two teams at three wins each, three losses and a draw.
• The contest has been so tight over the six years since the Force entered the competition, that with all points for and against tallied, the West Australians come out on top by just two, at 131-129.
• The Force have managed to get the wood over the University of Canberra Brumbies during recent encounters at Canberra Stadium posting a 27-19 win in round nine last year and a 25-16 victory in round three 2009.
• But the only other victory the Force have snared goes back to 2008 when they clawed their way to a tight victory 29-22 in Perth.