Wallabies return for Knockout Semi Final

· Super Rugby
by Brumbies Media

Plus500 Brumbies coach Dan McKellar will welcome back Wallabies James Slipper, Nic White, Pete Samu and Irae Simone to the starting side for the Knockout Semi Final against the Western Force at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.

100-Test stalwart James Slipper will line-up at loosehead prop alongside hooker Folau Fainga'a and skipper Allan Alaalatoa in the front row.

A settled starting lock combination of Darcy Swain and Cadeyrn Neville will again get through plenty of work around the paddock while playing key roles in the set piece.

Samu's return at no.8 sees the damaging Rob Valetini shift to his preferred position of blindside flanker with last round's run-on debutant Rory Scott retaining the number seven jersey.

A Wallabies halves pairing of White and Noah Lolesio will again steer the side around the field with Simone's return rekindling the midfield combination with the elusive Len Ikitau.

An electric back three sees Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright and Tom Banks looking to add to their combined tally of 10 tries so far this season.

The reserve front row consists of Canberra locals Lachlan Lonergan at hooker and Tom Ross at tighthead prop, with 120-capped Brumby Scott Sio the loosehead replacement.

Tall-timber Nick Frost will make an impact as the reserve second-rower with another Brumbies pathway product Luke Reimer in line for his Super Rugby debut off the bench in the must win match.

Sharp shooter off the tee Ryan Lonergan will again play a key role as reserve number nine, with teenage playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa to get another chance to impress off the pine and the versatile Mack Hansen rounding out the game day squad.

Plus500 Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: "It's good to see Luke get his chance, he's been nice and patient and worked really hard for his club (Wests) over the past couple of weeks. He's excited and I know his family is heavily invested in his career and I know they'll be excited and proud of him."

"The Force have some momentum at the moment off the Rebels win and the Waratahs too and they played well against the Reds last week and they deserve their opportunity.

"At the end of the day it comes down to the team that turns up with greatest intent and wants to dominate the collisions and takes their opportunities, that's who generally wins Semi Finals."

PLUS500 BRUMBIES KNOCKOUT SEMI FINAL TEAM

1. James Slipper

2. Folau Fainga'a

3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)

4. Darcy Swain

5. Cadeyrn Neville

6. Rob Valetini

7. Rory Scott

8. Pete Samu

9. Nic White

10. Noah Lolesio

11. Tom Wright

12. Irae Simone

13. Len Ikitau

14. Andy Muirhead

15. Tom Banks

REPLACEMENTS

16. Lachlan Lonergan

17. Scott Sio

18. Tom Ross

19. Nick Frost

20. Luke Reimer*

21. Ryan Lonergan

22. Reesjan Pasitoa

23. Mack Hansen

*Denotes potential Super Rugby debut

The Plus500 Brumbies play the Western Force in the Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU Knockout Semi Final at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday May 10at 7:45pm AEDT. LIVE and AD FREE on the new Home of Rugby, Stan Sport and free to air on 9Gem. Tickets available here.

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