Rob Valetini will bring up 50 games for the Brumbies in Saturday night’s Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific round seven clash against the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
The 23-year-old will become one of the youngest players in Brumbies history to reach the significant milestone, having made his debut as a teenager in 2018.
Head coach Dan McKellar has made four changes to his starting side to take on the Reds, with fullback Jesse Mogg set to make his first appearance in the Brumbies 15 jersey since 2015 in place of Tom Banks.
The remaining changes come in the front row with James Slipper in at loosehead prop, Folau Fainga’a at hooker and Allan Alaalatoa captaining the team from tighthead.
Darcy Swain and Nick Frost continue their partnership in the second row with Valetini, Jahrome Brown and Pete Samu forming an unchanged backrow from the Brumbies 39-38 victory over the Western Force in round six.
The halves pairing of Ryan Lonergan and Rod Iona are also retained from the Brumbies last outing, Iona having been one of the Brumbies best stepping in for Noah Lolesio who is given another week to recover from injury.
Mogg’s inclusion at fullback is the only change to an in-form Brumbies backline, with Irae Simone and Len Ikitau in the centres, and Tom Wright and Andy Muirhead on the flanks, Muirhead having bagged a hat-trick last time out.
Lachlan Lonergan will provide plenty of impact as the finishing hooker with Brumbies centurion Scott Sio and Sefo Kautai the prop finishers.
Tom Hoopers will cover lock with Ed Kennedy brought into the gameday 23 as an option at both backrow and in the second row.
The Brumbies will benefit from the impact and leadership of Nic White as the finishing halfback, with former Reds midfielder Hudson Creighton retained in the gameday squad after making his debut last week.
Former Australian Sevens Cam Clark is in line for his Brumbies debut, the outside back completing McKellar’s squad for the Reds clash.
Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said: “The whole group have trained well this week ahead of what will be another tough game up in Brisbane.”
“We were really pleased with a lot of aspects of our performance in Perth, but we know we’ll have to be at our best for the full 80 on Saturday night.
“It’s an exciting night for Rob and his family, reaching 50 games and for a couple others like Jesse getting a start and Cam Clark who has worked hard for his opportunity.”
BRUMBIES TEAM FOR ROUND SEVEN OF SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC
1. James Slipper
2. Folau Fainga'a
3. Allan Alaalatoa (C)
4. Darcy Swain
5. Nick Frost
6. Rob Valetini
7. Jahrome Brown
8. Pete Samu
9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Rod Iona
11. Andy Muirhead
12. Irae Simone
13. Len Ikitau
14. Tom Wright
15. Tom Banks
16. Lachlan Lonergan
17. Scott Sio
18. Sefo Kautai
19. Tom Hooper
20. Ed Kennedy
21. Nic White
22. Hudson Creighton
23. Cam Clark*
*Denotes potential Brumbies debut
The Brumbies will take on the Queensland Reds in round sevenof Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday April 2 at 7.45pm AEDT,live on the home of rugby, Stan Sport.