Brumbies Super Rugby head coach Stephen Larkham has made three changes to his starting team to play the Blues at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
Larkham has given a first start of the season to Tom Banks who will wear the full-back after making his debut for the club against the Reds on the left wing.
With Banks starting at fullback Aidan Toua rotates to the replacments bench as one of the three changes to the starting team.
With prop Scott Sio out injured, Nic Mayhew will begin against his former club at Loosehead alongside Wallaby international Allan Alaalatoa and hooker Josh Mann-Rea, who will play his 50th Brumbies match. Lolo Fakaosilea returns to the team at no.8 in place of Jarrad Butler who is on the bench.
Toua will also be amongst the replacements, along with Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin included in a matchday squad for the first time since the Round 4 success away to the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium, Sydney.
The backline remains settled outside of the inclusion of Banks and with the forward pack containing the nucleus of the side that has been in good form for most of the season, the team looks primed to attack from the outset.
With the Blues entering the match fresh off the bye, the Brumbies will hope to hit the ground running on what promises to be a hugely exciting afternoon at the club’s annual Family Day.
Key to any success could be the pace at which the ball reaches the talented backline with halfbacks Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera in the playmaking roles. Both showed flashes of brilliance in Napier, despite the result, and will be hoping for a confidence boosting display back in front of their home supporters.
The visitors have a dynamic group of players and the Brumbies midfield will need to be consistently aware of the threat posed by the runners in and around the breakdown. With tough-tacklers in Andrew Smith and Tevita Kuridrani paired at centre, the Blues will be made to work hard for any ground gained.
15. Tom Banks, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Andrew Smith, 11. James Dargaville, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Lolo Fakaosilea, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Nic Mayhew. Reserves:
Replacements : 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Ben Alexander, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Blake Enever, 20. Jarrad Butler, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23. Aidan Toua.