The Australian Conference Champion Plus500 Brumbies return to GIO Stadium this weekend for their final regular season match of the Super Rugby competition when they welcome the Reds for the club’s inaugural Pasifika Round wearing the club’s brand-new Pasifika jersey.
Having secured a home Quarter Final to be played next weekend, Head Coach Dan McKellar has made four changes to the starting XV that defeated the Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and promoted a trio of youngsters to the replacements bench.
Fittingly, as the Brumbies celebrate the culture and heritage of their Pasifika Islands players with their unique jersey, Scott Sio headlines the inclusions in the forwards as the prop will pack down for his 100th Brumbies Rugby match, leading the team onto the GIO Stadium turf before kick-off, forming a front-row alongside Allan Alaalatoa and Folau Fainga’a.
There are two additions to the back-row with Lachlan McCaffrey rotating with Pete Samu in the number eight jersey, Samu is named amongst the replacements, whilst Jahrome Brown is back in the starting line-up, on the opposite flank to Robb Valetini, in place of Tom Cusack who is rested.
In the backs, livewire utility Tom Wright has earned a start on the left-wing, the dynamic and speedy youngster having already played at centre from where he has scored two tries in his debut season.
Other than the inclusion of Wright, the backline is the same that gave the Waratahs the run around in an expansive opening forty minutes last weekend, with Joe Powell and skipper Christian Lealiifano the fulcrum from which the exciting back division takes its lead.
Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani are forming a tough-tackling, physical centre-pairing with Simone having crossed for three tries in successive matches, his latest a score against his former club in Parramatta.
There’s a youthful look to the Brumbies bench with a trio of promising talent given an opportunity amongst the replacements.
Scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan is joined by Jordan Jackson-Hope and Len Ikitau with the trio sure to add plenty of pace and enthusiasm to the finishers.Murray Douglas is also included on the bench, with the front row changes seeing McKellar select Connal McInerney, James Slipper and Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin.
The Plus500 Brumbies will be wearing their new Pasifika Round jersey for the match, designed with the help of the playing group, limited quantities of which will be available for purchase at the game, with the match-worn jerseys being put up for auction at the final whistle.
More details of the auction will be available on our club website and social media channels next week.
The Pasifika Round will feature several themed activities and cultural performances with tickets available for what is sure to a fantastic occasions as we meet the Reds for the Rod Macqueen trophy available from www.ticketek.com.au.
Post-match the Brumbies will be presented with the Australian Conference Championship trophy by Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and there will also be a special on-field presentation to Sio to mark his century of appearances for the club.
1. Scott SIO
2. Folau FAINGA’A
3. Allan ALAALATOA
4. Rory ARNOLD
5. Sam CARTER
6. Rob VALETINI
7. Jahrome BROWN
8. Lachlan MCCAFFREY
9. Joe POWELL
10. Christian LEALIIFANO
11. Tom WRIGHT
12. Irae SIMONE
13. Tevita KURIDRANI
14. Andy MUIRHEAD
15. Tom BANKS
16. Connal MCINERNEY
17. James SLIPPER
18. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN
19. Murray DOUGLAS
20. Pete SAMU
21. Ryan LONERGAN
22. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
23. Len IKITAU
Saturday 15 June 2019
Super Rugby Round 18
Plus500 Brumbies v Reds
(GIO Stadium, Canberra, 7.45pm)