The Brumbies have named a strong squad for their lone trial match against the Western Force on Tuesday, 9 February at Viking Park.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has named a host of star players as they look to get some game time before their opening round Super Rugby AU clash against the Force on 19 February at HBF Park.
It will be a Wallaby front row trio with James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a and skipper Allan Alaalatoa all named to start, with Scott Sio on the bench.
Darcy Swain starts at lock on his club’s home ground at Viking Park, partnering Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.
A dynamic loose forward trio sees Wallabies Rob Valetini and Pete Samu combine with Jahrome Brown who will pull on the Brumbies strip for the first time in over a year.
McKellar has handed the reins to teenage playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa who will start at flyhalf with Noah Lolesio named on the bench.
Pasitoa is joined by fellow playmaker Rod Iona in the side’s only preseason hitout, Iona making a remarkable return to Brumbies colours, last appearing for the side in 2015.
The former Samoan International will link with 2020 Wallabies squad member Len Ikitau who will wear the number 13 jersey for the first time since making his debut for the club in 2019.
Adding experience to the halves duo will be Nic White who will wear the familiar number nine jersey.
The ever-reliable Andy Muirhead will take his place on the left wing with Canberra product Mack Hansen on the righthand touchline. Tom Banks rounds out the starting side at fullback.
The Brumbies bench will also feature last year’s grand final team members Tom Ross, Connal McInerney and Nick Frost, alongside fellow familiar faces of Harry Lloyd, Lachlan Lonergan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Ryan Lonergan.
New recruits James Tucker and Reece Tapine will get their first taste in their new colourson tomorrow evening.
2021 Brumbies academy graduates Tom Hooper, Rory Scott and Luke Reimer will all be on show on, with current pathways players Junior Tupou, Tom Haddad and Corey Toole also expected to receive game time.
McKellar said he was excited to see his team back playing against a quality opponent.
“It’s really exciting to be back on the field and talking about playing football matches again,” said Mckellar/
“The players are buzzing and as coaches, we’ll be looking to make sure everyone gets a good hit out under their belt ahead of what’s going to be a really competitive Super Rugby AU season.
“Reesjan is a developing nicely and this will be a good opportunity for him to get some valuable game time against a team that’s got a lot of quality across the park.”
PLUS500 BRUMBIES SQUAD
1. James Slipper
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Cadeyrn Neville
6. Rob Valetini
7. Jahrome Brown
8. Pete Samu
9. Nic White
10. Reesjan Pasitoa
11. Andy Muirhead
12. Rod Iona
13. Len Ikitau
14. Mack Hansen
15. Tom Banks
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