Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies Announce Team to Take on Crusaders

Wed, Mar 22, 2023, 12:46 AM
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham has made seven changes to his starting selection to take on the Crusaders at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch this Friday at 5.05pm AEDT.


Rugby Australia's Rugby World Cup resting policy sees James Slipper, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Nic White and Tom Wright rested for the Brumbies first trans-Tasman trip this season, with Len Ikitau and Darcy Swain also ruled out through injury.


The Brumbies do welcome club captain Allan Alaalatoa to the gameday 23, the Wallabies prop returning as part of the finishing group with Sefo Kautai starting at tighthead.


Loosehead Blake Schoupp will start after impressing early on his ACT career, with test hooker Connal McInerney retaining the number two jersey.


Fellow Canberra local Jack Wright continues his rise to the professional ranks, earning his first Super Rugby start alongside Cadeyrn Neville.


Rory Scott comes back into the starting lineup after a refresh in round four to partner with openside Luke Reimer who was named player of the match in last week's 62-36 win over Moana Pasifika.


Charlie Cale backs up his ACT debut last week with a start against the Crusaders, with Cale, Reimer and Scott forming an exciting new backrow combination.


Moving to the backs, Ryan Lonergan will captain the side from halfback with Noah Lolesio steering the attack from 10.


Tamati Tua and Ollie Sapsford combine in the centres, with Corey Toole continuing on the left wing. Wright's absence sees Andy Muirhead shift to fullback, with Ben O'Donnell getting a crack in the run on team for the first time.


In the finishers, Wallabies rake Lachlan Lonergan will finish the game at hooker with Fred Kaihea coming on with Alaalatoa at prop.


Nick Frost will add plenty of value in the second row, with backrower Jahrome Brown fit to make his first appearance of the year.


Almost 10 years after arriving to Canberra, Bentspoke John I Dent Cup legend Pedro Rolando is set for his ACT Brumbies debut, the 33-year-old Argentinian scrumhalf having led Royals to multiple premierships in his time in the capital.


Far-North Queensland product Declan Meredith is another star of the John I Dent Cup on-debut, the outside back having joined the club's senior squad this year.


Jack Debreczeni completes the Brumbies matchday selection.


Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: "We've laid a good foundation for the season in the first couple of weeks and we're excited to get back to New Zealand as a group and take on this challenge against a side we have a lot of respect for."


"We've had to rotate in a few areas, but we've backed our depth and our connection as a squad from the start and every player who gets on the plane knows the responsibility that comes with the jersey."




1. Blake Schoupp, Gungahlin Eagles


2. Connal McInerney, Canberra Royals


3. Sefo Kautai, Canberra Royals


4. Jack Wright, Tuggeranong Vikings


5. Cadeyrn Neville, Uni-Norths Owls


6. Rory Scott, Canberra Royals


7. Luke Reimer, Western Districts Lions


8. Charlie Cale, Uni-Norths Owls


9. Ryan Lonergan (C), Tuggeranong Vikings


10. Noah Lolesio, Tuggeranong Vikings


11. Corey Toole, Gungahlin Eagles


12. Tamati Tua, Queanbeyan Whites


13. Ollie Sapsford, Uni-Norths Owls


14. Ben O'Donnell, Western Districts Lions


15. Andy Muirhead, Canberra Royals




16. Lachlan Lonergan, Tuggeranong Vikings


17. Fred Kaihea, Queanbeyan Whites


18. Allan Alaalatoa, Uni-Norths Owls


19. Nick Frost, Queanbeyan Whites


20. Jahrome Brown, Gungahlin Eagles


21. Pedro Rolando, Canberra Royals*


22. Jack Debreczeni, Uni-Norths Owls


23. Declan Meredith Western District Lions*


*Denotes potential ACT Brumbies debut