University of Canberra Brumbies Head Coach Jake White has named a strong team to take on the Force, with five Wallabies joining Sam Carter in the starting side which travels to Perth on Thursday night.
There are four changes to the starting side which beat the Rebels in Melbourne almost a month ago, with Carter, Ben Alexander, Dan Palmer and Henry Speight all getting the nod for Saturday night.
Carter hasn’t played for the University of Canberra Brumbies since their last game at Canberra Stadium against the Reds, 26 May. And while the five capped Wallabies will boost the starting side, the further inclusion of Nic White, Ben Mowen and Jesse Mogg, who were all picked in the Wallabies squad, presents the Force with a tough challenge.
“Ita [Vaea] played really well last week, in fact he was one of the reasons that Gungahlin got a win over a really fancy Vikings team so it’s nice to see that if you perform at club you’re going to get a crack at a higher level.
“We’ve looked at the schedule ahead and knew guys like Sam Carter and Scott Fardy were going to have a break around this time so they would be fresh and ready for what could be another six weeks of rugby.
“No different to the Waratahs and the Blues in our next three games, the Force will be gunning to knock off as many of the top teams as they can. There’s a lot for them to play for with Nathan Sharpe calling it a day, but at the end of the day we have to concentrate on what we do.
“Don’t forget that we have a lot to play for as well. There’s a lot of emotion from our guys coming back from Wallabies camp to show what they’ve learned.”
With an injury to Joe Tomane at a Wallabies training session following the Test loss to Scotland, Robbie Coleman will again feature at fullback with Jesse Mogg and Henry Speight on the wings.
Coleman’s bench spot has been filled by Cam Crawford, who is in line to make his Super Rugby debut should he feature in the match. A former Northern Suburbs star who has been performing well for the Gungahlin Eagles throughout 2012, Crawford was a standout for the University of Canberra Brumbies during their match against Wales.
Tongan powerhouse Vaea also comes onto the bench in the place of Fotu Auelua, while Ruaidhri Murphy drops to the bench for Palmer. Prop Scott Sio drops out of the 22-man squad.
University of Canberra Brumbies v Force
nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Ian Smith
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Dan Palmer
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Peter Kimlin
7. Michael Hooper
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Zack Holmes
11. Jesse Mogg
12. Pat McCabe
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Robbie Coleman
16. Anthony Hegaty
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Leon Power
19. Ita Vaea
20. Ian Prior
21. Tevita Kuridrani
22. Cam Crawford
· The University of Canberra Brumbies have won once at nib Stadium in 2010.
· The last time these two teams played in Perth was a 13-all draw.
· The University of Canberra Brumbies have played the Force four times in Perth, with the visitors holding a slight advantage at two wins, a loss and a draw.
· The University of Canberra Brumbies have beaten the Force twice in 2012. In Darwin the Brumbies won 25-0 and in Canberra in Round One, 19-17.