Tom Cusack will become the 18th Brumbies captain when he leads the side out for the first time against the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, 13 March.
The born and bred Canberran has been named skipper for the First Nations Round with regular leader Allan Alaalatoa suspended for the next three matches.
Tom Ross will have his first start in place of Alaalatoa, wearing the number three jersey alongside Wallabies Folau Fainga’a and Scott Sio in the front row.
A settled lock combination of Darcy Swain and Cadeyrn Neville are again named in the second row.
Cusack is in the run-on side for the first time this season, joining Rob Valetini and Pete Samu in the loose forward trio.
The halves pairing are unchanged with Nic White and Noah Lolesio named again. Irae Simone and Len Ikitau are also unchanged as the centre combination.
Wearing the First Nations jersey for just the third time in Brumbies history, proud Indigenous man Andy Muirhead will line up on the right wing with Mack Hansen on the left and Tom Banks at fullback.
2021 recruit Archer Holz is in line for a potential Super Rugby debut off the bench, with ACT juniors Lachlan Lonergan and Harry Lloyd the other front row replacements.
Young second rower Nick Frost has been named in the matchday 23 with backrower Jahrome Brown the other forward cover.
Last weekend’s match winner Ryan Lonergan will again be called upon as the back-up number nine, alongside teenage playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa and the electric Issak Fines-Leleiwasa who round out the squad.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said it was a great moment for Cusack. “It’s really special for Tommy and his family, a local Canberra family, I know they’ll all be really proud of him on Saturday when he leads the team out,” said McKellar.
“It’s another good sign of our investment in local talent, if you’re a young boy who wants to play for the Brumbies and one day you might be able to lead them out if you work hard and are resilience like Tommy Cusack has been for a number of years.
“Archer’s a big body, he has a real thirst for scrummaging and natural physicality in his game and I’m really pleased for Archer and his family, he’s worked hard and he’s a chance to make his debut on Saturday evening.”
The Brumbies will be taking on the Queensland Reds in a rematch of last years Super Rugby AU Grand Final.
The Reds have named a strong line up for the clash, with Wallaby Lukhan Salakaia-Loto making his return.
Suliasi Vunivalu moves to the wing, while Jordan Petaia moves to outside centre and Hunter Pasami named at 12.
Full Brumbies and Reds teams
|1||Scott Sio||1||Dane Zander|
|2||Connal McInerney||2||Alex Mafi|
|3||Tom Ross||3||Taniela Tupou|
|4||Darcy Swain||4||Angus Blyth|
|5||Cadeyrn Neville||5||Lukhan Salakaia-Loto|
|6||Rob Valetini||6||Angus Soctt-Young|
|7||Tom Cusack ©||7||Fraser McReight|
|8||Pete Samu||8||Harry Wilson|
|9||Nic White||9||Tate McDermott|
|10||Noah Lolesio||10||James O’Connor ©|
|11||Mack Hansen||11||Filipo Daugunu|
|12||Irae Simone||12||Hunter Paisami|
|13||Len Ikitau||13||Jordan Petaia|
|14||Andy Muirhead||14||Suliasi Vunivalu|
|15||Tom Banks||15||Jock Campbell|
|16||Lachlan Lonergan||16||Brandon Paenga-Amosa|
|17||Harry Lloyd||17||Harry Hoopert|
|18||Archer Holz||18||Zane Nonggorr|
|19||Nick Frost||19||Ryan Smith|
|20||Jahrome Brown||20||Seru Uru|
|21||Ryan Lonergan||21||Moses Sorovi|
|22||Reesjan Pasitoa||22||Bryce Hegarty|
|23||Issak Fines-Leleiwasa||23||Josh Flook|