Fainga'a, Simone reach 50, as Kata returns for Plus500 Brumbies

· Super Rugby Trans-Tasman
by Brumbies Media

Plus500 Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga'a and inside centre Irae Simone will both make their 50th Super Rugby appearance in Saturday night's blockbuster showdown against the Crusaders in Christchutch.

Fainga'a has scored 29 tries for the club since debuting for the Brumbies in 2018 and will pack down alongside Wallabies props and long time teammates Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa, with the latter to skipper the side at Orangetheory Stadium.

After beginning his career in NSW, Simone has found his feet in the nation's capital with 40 of his 50 Super Rugby caps coming in Brumbies colours.  He will partner the elusive Len Ikitau in the midfield on Saturday night.

After a breakout year in 2020, Solomone Kata will wear Brumbies colours for the first time this season, named on the right wing to replace the injured Andy Muirhead. 

Following an impressive performance in the backrow in last weekend's heartbreaking Grand Final loss, Nick Frost returns to the more familiar second row position where he will partner the in-form Darcy Swain, with regular starter Cadeyrn Neville nursing a shoulder injury.

The backrow sees last week's Brumbies debutant Henry Stowers earn his first start for the club at blindside flanker with Academy graduate Rory Scott at openside and the powerhouse Rob Valetini at the back of the scrum. 

ACT junior Ryan Lonergan will get his second crack at the starting halfback role this year, partnering Noah Lolesio in the halves. 

Kata's return to the team is the only change to the back three with Tom Wright on the left edge and Tom Banks wearing the familiar number 15 jersey.

Fresh from re-signing with the club this week, Lachlan Lonergan will play a significant role as the replacement hooker with local products Harry Lloyd and Tom Ross the reserve props.

Bathurst-born Tom Hooper is in line to become the eighth debutant for the club this season after being named as the replacement lock with Luke Reimer providing cover for the backrow.

Picked as a reserve outside back in his five matches so far this year, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa returns to the match day squad as the replacement halfback with playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa and versatile Mack Hansen completing the 23. 

Plus500 Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: "It’s great to see Sol Kata and Henry Stowers get a start, and Tom Hooper likely getting his debut off the bench against some of the best locks in the game."

"We've talked a lot this week about getting straight back on the saddle, and this is a challenge we've been excited about for a long time.  

“We certainly feel there’s no greater challenge in World Rugby than going to Christchurch and taking the Crusaders on but having said that, we’re going over there with the mindset to win the game."


PLUS500 BRUMBIES SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE TEAM
1. Scott Sio
2. Folau Fainga'a
3. Allan Alaalatoa (c)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Nick Frost
6. Henry Stowers
7. Rory Scott
8. Rob Valetini
9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Noah Lolesio
11. Tom Wright
12. Irae Simone
13. Len Ikitau
14. Solomone Kata
15. Tom Banks

REPLACEMENTS
16. Lachlan Lonergan
17. Harry Lloyd
18. Tom Ross
19. Tom Hooper*
20. Luke Reimer
21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
22. Reesjan Pasitoa
23. Mack Hansen


*Denotes potential Super Rugby debut

 

The Plus500 Brumbies will play the Crusaders in Round One of Harvey Norman Super Rugby Trans-Tasman at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday May 15 at 5:05pm AEST.  LIVE and AD FREE on the new Home of Rugby, Stan Sport.

 

 

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