Brumbies beef up pack for Stormers


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Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher has beefed up the Brumbies pack as the visitors front up for Super 14 battle with the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

Fisher has made three changes to the side which scraped home against the Lions last week.

All three changes occur in the pack, including a new-look front row, and then there’s plenty of beef in reserve with Fisher naming five forwards, instead of the customary four, on the substitutes’ bench.

It all points to Fisher’s concern that the Stormers are on top of their game at the set-pieces and that’s one specific area where he hopes to bolster his side’s challenge.

Tighthead prop Salesi Ma’afu and hooker Saia Faingaa have been drafted into the front row at the expense of John Ulugia and Guy Shepherdson.

In the backrow, Stephen Hoiles has replaced Mitchell Chapman. The presence of five forwards among the reserves is an obvious attempt by Fisher to counter the Stormers’ second-half options which includes the introduction of impact forwards to up the side’s momentum later in the game.

Fisher has kept his backline intact and the Stirling Mortlock-led side, which is a veritable mixture of youth and experience, should benefit from this selection continuity.

During their stay in Cape Town this week the Brumbies have been rather secretive about training details in the run-up to Saturday’s clash but Fisher, the experienced campaigner that he is, would have tried out the combinations before making his selection calls.

However, with a possible semifinal berth in the offing, the changes also suggest that Fisher is trying to keep some players fresh as well as giving others game time, although given the must-win element of Saturday’s match the run-on XV will be regarded as a risky one in some quarters.

Hoiles, their regular No 8, has not played as a blindside flanker this season, but his presence is probably out of concern for the Stormers’ ability at the breakdowns, despite the injury-enforced absence of the world-class Schalk Burger.

The Brumbies side to play the Stormers :

Mark Gerrard; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock (captain), Tyrone Smith, Francis Fainifo, Christian Lealiifano, Patrick Phibbs; Julian Salvi, George Smith, Stephen Hoiles, Mark Chisholm, Alister Campbell, Salesi Ma’afu, Saia Faingaa, Nic Henderson.

Reserves: John Ulugia, Guy Shepherdson, Peter Kimlin, Ben Alexander, Mitchell Chapman, Josh Holmes, Afusipa Taumoepeau.

Sapa –

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