The Brumbies have named a strong team as they begin their Super Rugby AU title defence against the Western Force in Perth on Friday night, 19 February.
ACT product Mack Hansen will line up for his first start on the wing, partnered by the ever-reliable Andy Muirhead and Wallabies fullback Tom Banks in the back three.
Wallabies number nine Nic White will partner fellow Test playmaker Noah Lolesio in the halves.
Wallby squad member Len Ikitau will make his third Super Rugby start at outside centre with Irae Simone at inside centre.
James Slipper will play his 137th Super Rugby match at HBF Park, as part of an all-Test row that includes Folau Fainga’a at hooker and skipper Allan Alaalatoa in the number three jersey.
Darcy Swain and Cadeyrn Neville will partner as locks for the second time.
Jahrome Brown is set to make his return to Super Rugby level alongside Rob Valetini and Pete Samu in the backrow.
An all-ACT replacement front row sees Connal McInerney, Tom Ross and Harry Lloyd to impact the match off the bench.
Nick Frost and vice-captain Tom Cusack are the other forward finishers.
Ryan Lonergan is the replacement scrumhalf with teenager Reesjan Pasitoa and the versatile Issak Fines-Leleiwasa rounding out the matchday 23.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said the team was excited to travel together again and play a quality opponent.
“We’re super excited to be back at the starting line of what’s going to be a great Super Rugby season,” said McKellar.
“To head away is an experience we haven’t had a lot of over the past twelve months and I know as a group we love being on the road, enjoying each other’s company and getting a positive result.
“We saw in our trial, that the Western Force are a quality outfit and there’s no doubt they’ll be up for what’s going to be a great occasion at HBF Park on Friday night in front of a big crowd.”
The Brumbies come against a Force side featuring multiple former Brumbies, most noticeably outside centre Tevita Kuridrani.
Kuridrani scored 28 tries in his 135 appearances for the Brumbies between 2012 and 2020 and was part of the Brumbies Super Rugby AU title winning side last year.
The game will be streamed on Stan Sport, Friday 19 February, 10pm.
Full Brumbies and Force teams
|1. James Slipper||1. Tom Robertson|
|2. Folau Fainga’a||2. Feleti Kaitu’u|
|3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)||3. Santiago Medrano|
|4. Darcy Swain||4. Jeremy Thrush|
|5. Cadeyrn Neville||5. Fergus Lee-Warner|
|6. Rob Valetini||6. Tomas Lezana|
|7. Jahrome Brown||7. Kane Koteka|
|8. Pete Samu||8. Brynard Stander|
|9. Nic White||9. Ian Prior (c)|
|10. Noah Lolesio||10. Jono Lance|
|11. Mack Hansen||11. Marcel Brache|
|12. Irae Simone||12. Kyle Godwin|
|13. Len Ikitau||13. Tevita Kuridrani|
|14. Andy Muirhead||14. Byron Ralston|
|15. Tom Banks||15. Robert Kearney|
|16. Connal McInerney||16. Andrew Ready|
|17. Harry Lloyd||17. Angus Warner|
|18. Tom Ross||18. Greg Holmes|
|19. Nick Frost||19. Ryan McCauley|
|20. Tom Cusack||20. Tim Anstee|
|21. Ryan Lonergan||21. Tomas Cubelli|
|22. Reesjan Pasitoa||22. Jake Mcintyre|
|23. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa||23. Richard Kahui|
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