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Brumbies make three changes for Chiefs in Canberra

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Brumbies Super rugby head coach Dan McKellar has named a team with three changes for this weekend’s match against the Chiefs in Canberra.

After the Brumbies were edged last weekend by the Rebels McKellar has promoted Tom Cusack, Andy Muirhead and Chance Peni to the starting XV.

Cusack and Peni are included at the expense of David Pocock and Toni Pulu, both of whom suffered injuries during the first-half of the Rebels match, that ruled them out of selection, whilst Muirhead starts ahead of Henry Speight, who hobbled off in the second half.

Other than that, McKellar has shown his trust in the team that pushed the Rebels to the limit and, given better execution of the myriad opportunities they created, especially in the opening stanza, will be confident that they can gain a first win of the season.

James Slipper, who enjoyed an excellent debut in Brumbies colours last week, continues in a front row that provided two of the team’s try-scorers in Round 1, both Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaalatoa finding their way across the whitewash.

Indeed, all four of the Brumbies tries were claimed by the pack with the lock forward pairing of Rory Arnold and Sam Carter, who continue against the Chiefs, giving the tight five a monopoly of the five-pointers.

Cusack slots into Openside flanker role with Rob Valetini and Lachlan McCaffrey completing a strong, mobile and dynamic back-row trio that are sure to be at the heart of any Brumbies success.

Joe Powell and Christian Lealiifano continue at half-back, directing the side around the park, Lealiifano passing 850 career Super Rugby points against the Rebels, with Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani tasked with finding any holes in the Chiefs midfield.

Muirhead, Peni and Tom Banks round out the starting XV with all three possessing excellent pace and finishing ability.

The finishers are the same as was selected for the Rebels match except for exciting young talent Tom Wright who is drafted into the squad for a potential debut, as Muirhead starts.

This means that Josh Mann-Rea will become the equal oldest Australian to play Super Rugby when he comes on.

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper

Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Peter Samu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Tom Wright

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