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Brumbies make five changes for Lions

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Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham has named a team with five changes for this Friday’s match against the Lions in Canberra.

Ben Alexander, Jarrad Butler, Jordan Smiler, Kyle Godwin and Aidan Toua all return to the line-up for the challenge of the in-form South African franchise and 2016 Super Rugby Grand Finalists.

Godwin makes a return from the hand injury suffered in the thrashing of the Reds at GIO Stadium and comes back into the side at inside centre, re-forming what was becoming a burgeoning partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.

At full-back Toua is recalled into the number 15 shirt in place of Tom Banks, who steps down to the bench, one of three back options amongst the replacements alongside scrum-half De Wet Roos and utility back Jordan Jackson-Hope, who crossed for a hat-trick of tries for Tuggeranong Vikings on Saturday.

There are a trio of changes up front with the experienced prop Alexander set to claim his 139th Brumbies cap as he closes in on the record held by George Smith, which stands at 142.

A new-look back-row takes to the field on Friday with Smiler and Butler packing down alongside Scott Fardy in a mobile and physical combination with the aim to nullify the attacking edge that the Lions have in their forward unit.

Ben Hyne comes onto the bench for the contest with the rest of the forward replacements the same as the team which was narrowly beaten by the Blues a fortnight ago.

Brumbies last played the Lions in Canberra in 2011 when the visitors triumphed by nine points but, conversely, the last pair of meetings at Ellis Park in Johannesburg have gone the way of the Brumbies.

With the Lions riding high in the Africa 2 Conference, leading their group by ten points, and the Brumbies atop of the Australian version, we are set for what is sure to be a tight confrontation between two sides who will be keen to solidify their place in the standings.

Brumbies

Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, James Dargaville, Wharenui Hawera, Joel Powell, Jordan Smiler, Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (capt), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander.

Replacements: Robbie Abel, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaiali-Makin, Blake Enever, Ben Hyne, De Wet Roos, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Tom Banks.

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