Brumbies prop James Slipper will make his 50th appearance for the club in this Friday’s Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific round 13 clash against the Crusaders at GIO Stadium.
Slipper recently brought up 150 caps in Super Rugby, having\ represented the Queensland Reds on 104 occasions, and has been a pillar of head coach Dan McKellar’s side since joining in 2019.
McKellar has made two changes to his starting side to take on the Crusaders, Brumbies pathways product Tom Hooper coming into the backrow in place of Rob Valetini, with Rodney Iona starting at flyhalf.
Noah Lolesio is expected to return next week, with Valetini set for a period on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in the Brumbies 38-28 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Allan Alaalatoa returns to the starting side at tighthead, the Wallabies prop leading the side with Slipper at loosehead and Lachlan Lonergan at hooker.
The second-row combination of Darcy Swain and Cadeyrn Neville is retained from the Brumbies victory in New Zealand, with Hooper the only change to the backrow alongside Jahrome Brown at openside and Pete Samu at number eight.
Nic White will partner Iona in the halves, Iona having steered the side to wins in Lolesio’s absence against the Reds, Force and Fijian Drua.
Irae Simone and Len Ikitau continue their partnership in the centres, with the back-three of Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright and Tom Banks all in good form heading into the top-three fixture.
The impact of the finishers has been a feature of the Brumbies game this year, with Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio and Tom Ross bringing impact in the front-row.
A ‘6-2’ split on the bench sees Nick Frost as the lock spark, with Rory Scott and Luke Reimer the backrow replacements to bring impact later in the game.
Ryan Lonergan continues to play a key role at the finishing halfback with Ollie Sapsford completing the Brumbies matchday squad.
Brumbies head coach, Dan McKellar said: “We’re all excited for what should be a great contest on Friday night against a team who have been the benchmarks in Super Rugby for a long time in the Crusaders.”
“It’s disappointing to not have Noah and Rob available but we’ve backed our depth all season and we have full confidence in Hoops and Rod to do a job for the team.
“In tight games like this, having our home support behind us and our members, friends and family in the crowd gives the team a huge lift so we look forward to seeing a great crowd in the stands on Friday night.”
BRUMBIES TEAM FOR ROUND 13 OF SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC
1. James Slipper
2. Lachlan Lonergan
3. Allan Alaalatoa (C)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Cadeyrn Neville
6. Tom Hooper
7. Jahrome Brown
8. Pete Samu
9. Nic White
10. Rodney Iona
11. Andy Muirhead
12. Irae Simone
13. Len Ikitau
14. Tom Wright
15. Tom Banks
16. Folau Fainga'a
17. Scott Sio
18. Tom Ross
19. Nick Frost
20. Luke Reimer
21. Rory Scott
22. Ryan Lonergan
23. Ollie Sapsford
The Brumbies will take on the Crusaders in round 13 of Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific at GIO Stadium, Canberra on Friday May 13 at 7.45pm AEST.