The University of Canberra Brumbies have named a strong side to take on the Reds with changes at fly-half, tight-head prop, scrum-half and open-side flanker slightly altering the team’s make-up from last Saturday’s loss to the Sharks in Canberra.
Injury to Matt Toomua has opened the door for Christian Lealiifano to reclaim the No 10 jersey for the clash with the Reds, moving Pat McCabe to inside centre and Joe Tomane back into the starting side on the wing.
Michael Hooper and Ita Vaea are also being rotated with the Tongan juggernaut taking the starting No 7 jersey for Friday night’s game. Both players have been in good form this season and University of Canberra Brumbies supporters will look forward to Hooper making a big impact when he takes the field.
Dan Palmer has been recalled at tight-head prop pushing Ruaidhri Murphy back to the bench and Scott Sio out of the 22-man squad.
Scrum-half Nic White will make his way back to the starting side with former Red Ian Prior moving onto the bench. To cover for Joe Tomane’s elevation to the starting side, Tevita Kuridrani has been named on the bench and will make his debut should he be given a chance against his former team mates.
Kuridrani is one of eight University of Canberra Brumbies players who have moved from Queensland to the ACT to further their rugby careers.
The match will hold special significance for blind-side flanker Peter Kimlin who makes his 50th appearance for the University of Canberra Brumbies on Friday night. After making his debut against the Stormers back in 2007, Kimlin has battled a series of serious injuries but is now approaching the sort of form that had him selected to play for the Wallabies back in 2009.
“Ita Vaea was a real handful when he came off the bench against the Sharks last week, in 25 minutes he managed to top our metres gained in contact,” Head Coach Jake White said.
“We are lucky to have a player of Michael’s quality on the bench. The Reds loose forwards have been in good form and it will be up to those guys to play above them.
“Losing Matt last week was disappointing but Christian has plenty of experience in the Brumbies No 10 jersey, I’m looking forward to seeing him lead our backline on Friday.”
Friday’s match and the return leg to Canberra are being played for the Rod Macqueen Cup, of which the University of Canberra Brumbies are the current holders.
Friday, 6 April
Rod Macqueen Cup
University of Canberra Brumbies v Reds
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Steve Walsh
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
9. Nic White
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Joe Tomane
12. Pat McCabe
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Scott Fardy
19. Michael Hooper
20. Ian Prior
21. Zack Holmes
22. Tevita Kuridrani
• The University of Canberra Brumbies have a proud record against Queensland, having lost just two games since 1996
• The University of Canberra Brumbies have never been beaten at Suncorp Stadium
• The Reds need to win both this fixture and the return leg in Canberra to win back the Rod Macqueen Cup
• The only time the University of Canberra Brumbies have lost in Brisbane was at Ballymore in 1999 – the score that day was 19-18
• In 2011 the Reds lost just one game at Suncorp Stadium and that was to the University of Canberra Brumbies 22-14
• One of the two losses suffered by the University of Canberra Brumbies in this fixture was in 2011 at Canberra Stadium, despite outscoring the Reds four tries to one
• The Reds have not lost four games in a row since 2009
• Eight of the University of Canberra Brumbies 22-man squad has links to Queensland rugby