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Where: Westpac Stadium
When: 06.35 (GMT)
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The Brumbies have named their Super Rugby team to play the Hurricanes in Wellington with a reshuffled back row following the loss of David Pocock.
Jarrad Butler shifts around the scrum from No.8 to open-side flanker in the absence of David Pocock, moving Captain Ben Mowen to No.8 and Scott Fardy from lock to blind-side flanker.
Leon Power will partner Sam Carter at lock in his first start since the Rebels game in Canberra last year, while the front row of Ben Alexander (tight-head prop), Stephen Moore (hooker) and Scott Sio (loose-head prop) remains the same for the third consecutive week.
Jordan Smiler comes onto the bench for Power, and aside from McCabe the replacement list of Ruaidhri Murphy, Ruan Smith, Lachlan McCaffrey, Conrad Hoffmann and Lionel Cronje remains the same as last week’s match in Perth.
In the backs Andrew Smith returns from a series of niggling injuries to the start for the first time since 2012 when he faced a touring Welsh side and is named with Wallabies Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani on either side of him.
Last week’s inside-centre, Pat McCabe, will start from the bench for the Hurricanes clash.
With Robbie Coleman (wing), Jesse Mogg (fullback) and Henry Speight (wing) all fit and ready, the back three remains the same as last week, as does the halves combo of Nic White (scrumhalf) and Toomua (flyhalf).
Head Coach Stephen Larkham said the Brumbies would need to lift from last week’s victory over the Western Force to win in Wellington.
“They’ve had a fair bit of travel like us, but they’ll be reeling after two very close losses in Africa and will most certainly be feeling refreshed at home,” Larkham said.
“The Hurricanes have a number of very good players back this year and they’ve had a few days to readjust to being back in Wellington. I expect them to be a totally different side at home, irrespective of the travel factor.”
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has been forced to defend his decision to start Ardie Savea in his team to play the Brumbies this weekend.
Hammett put Ardie Savea on the replacements bench last week and has again named him on the bench for this week’s clash.
The Hurricanes coach made two changes to the team that lost to the Stormers and Adam Hill comes in at blindside while James Marshall replaces Marty Banks at fullback.
“Jack Lam for us has been outstanding, he was probably our outstanding player on tour and he’s a Samoan international, so firstly Ardie has to overcome that,” Hammett said defending his selections.
“The other side is Ardie will see time and plenty of time through this season. He’s a fantastic player and guy we’re looking forward to seeing him out there.”
Savea toured with the All Blacks on their end of year tour last year as they wanted to introduce him to the All Black way but at twenty years old Savea is still progressing in size, strength and experience.
“He’s a very good player, but he’s a young player and like anyone who has either made the All Blacks or made Super teams, they are still learning, they still have parts of their trade to improve on and Ardie’s no different. He’s working hard behind the scenes.
“There are elements not just on the field. He has to work hard on his strength and size, but that takes time. You don’t just put size on in five minutes or even five months. He’s got targets of where he wants to go and he makes up for it with his power and speed.
“There seems to be a big fuss about it at the moment, but I don’t know what the fuss is to be honest.”
“He’s a great player and in time he’s going to get there,” explained Hammett.
1. Scott Sio , 2. Stephen Moore , 3. Ben Alexander , 4. Leon Power , 5. Sam Carter , 6. Scott Fardy , 7. Jarrad Butler , 8. Ben Mowen (C) , 9. Nic White , 10. Matt Toomua , 11. Robbie Coleman , 12. Andrew Smith , 13. Tevita Kuridrani , 14. Henry Speight , 15. Jesse Mogg
Replacements :16. Josh MannRea , 17. Ruan Smith , 18. JP Smith , 19. Jordan Smiler , 20. Lachlan McCaffrey , 21. Conrad Hoffmann , 22. Pat McCabe , 23. Lionel Cronje