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Brumbies make five changes for Rebels

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Canberra’s Brumbies have named a team with five changes for Friday’s match against the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

As one of head Coach Dan McKellar’s changes is a first start for livewire centre Tom Wright.

Wright comes into the team at inside centre following his cameo from the replacements bench in both the matches against the Chiefs and Hurricanes, registering his first try for the club in Palmerston North last weekend.

The former Rugby League player will link up with Tevita Kuridrani in the centres as the Brumbies look to gain revenge for the opening Round defeat to their Australian Conference opponents at GIO Stadium.

The inclusion of Wright is one of a brace of changes in the backline with fan favourite Henry Speight sufficiently recovered from the knock he sustained against the Rebels to regain a position on the right-wing, forming a potentially explosive back-three alongside Andy Muirhead and Tom Banks.

There are three further changes in the pack as McKellar brings back Sam carter into the second row, reforming his locking partnership with Rory Arnold whilst there are two changes in the backrow.

Tom Cusack, who started the victory against the Chiefs in Canberra, is restored to the starting XV but is shifted into the number eight position with Rob Valetini back at blindside flaker, opposite the legendary David Pocock on the other flank , forming a backrow that will aim to pilfer and disrupt as much as possible.

On the bench, lock forward Murray Douglas, a former Melbourne Rebels player, is set to make his Brumbies debut as a replacement having been selected as cover for the second row, and there is a first chance for young scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan, fresh from a dazzling display for the Runners against Auckland.

Lonergan is in line for his second Brumbies appearance, having last been included in a squad in July 2017, making his debut against the Chiefs at FMG Stadium in Hamilton in a Round 17 fixture.

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Tom Wright, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Tom Cusack, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio

Replacements :16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Chance Peni

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