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Scott Sio makes his first career start at loose-head prop in Durban on Saturday night when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the Sharks.
The 21-year-old is one of five changes to the team which beat the Waratahs in Canberra last week, with George Smith (open-side flanker), Fotu Auelua (No. 8), Tevita Kuridrani (outside centre) and Joe Tomane (wing) all moving into the starting 15.
With Sio at loose-head, Ben Alexander slides across the scum to tight-head where he is usually seen playing for the Wallabies. Coincidentally, Sio made his Super Rugby debut off the bench against the Sharks in 2012 and will now make his run-on debut in the same fixture a year later.
Captain Ben Mowen switches from the back of the scrum to blind-side flanker and Peter Kimlin to lock, while Scott Fardy and Clyde Rathbone drop to the bench. Ruaidhri Murphy makes his first appearance on the bench since round one, while Andrew Smith and Dan Palmer drop out of the match-day 22.
With David Pocock set to miss the rest of the Super Rugby season, former Australian Under 20’s skipper Colby Faingaa will also feature on the Brumbies bench in place of 129-game veteran, George Smith. Despite being just 21 this is Faingaa’s third tour of South Africa, with the young flanker keen to leave a big impact once injected from the bench.
Head Coach Jake White said the 2012 Runners Up posed a huge test for his side.
“Traditionally this has been one of the Brumbies biggest games of the season. To come away from Durban with four points is a huge challenge but one the team feels comfortable with,” White said.
“Scotty Sio has been working hard on his set-piece and fitness and it’s nice to be able to hand him his first starting jersey.
“Likewise Tevita, Joe and Fotu are proven Super Rugby players and I’m looking forward to seeing those guys in full flight on Saturday. It’s nice to be back in Durban, I’ve always enjoyed my time here and hopefully things stay like that after Saturday night.”
The University of Canberra Brumbies face the Sharks at King’s Park in Durban on Saturday night with a 5.05pm kick-off (local time).
Sharks v University of Canberra Brumbies
King’s Park, Durban
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Kick-off: 5.05pm (2.05am, Sunday AEDST)
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Peter Kimlin
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Mowen (c)
7. George Smith
8. Fotu Auelua
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Joe Tomane
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Scott Fardy
19. Colby Faingaa
20. Ian Prior
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Clyde Rathbone