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Brumbies make three changes for the Blues

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Brumbies Super rugby head coach Dan McKellar has named a team with three changes to face the Blues GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday night.

Academy graduate Len Ikitau has been included and will make his first start in a Brumbies match.

Ikitau is one of three changes from the side that took to the field in Buenos Aires last week.

Scrumhalf Joe Powell and midfielder Irae Simone return to the starting XV, with Tom Wright and local product Ryan Lonergan named amongst the replacements.

The Brumbies return home to GIO Stadium aiming for a fourth home win in succession having beaten the Chiefs, Waratahs and Lions.

Following a successful tour with a special win over the Stormers in Cape Town, the match promises to be an exciting encounter with the Auckland-based side similarly placed on the tightly packed Super Rugby competition table.

James Slipper gets the nod to start at prop along with Allan Alaalatoa and hooker Folau Fainga’a in the front row, along with Rory Arnold and Sam Carter continuing as the lock pairing following some excellent set-piece work against the Jaguares in Argentina.

The same starting loose forward trio continues from their strong performances on tour, including a first start at GIO Stadium for Jahrome Brown, the flanker having emerged as a genuine threat since his introduction to Super Rugby, alongside Tom Cusack and Pete Samu to complete the forward pack.

Powell reforms his halfback partnership with Christian Lealiifano, who captains the team and needs one-point to bring up 900 Super Rugby career points, with Simone and Ikitau combining in midfield.

Out wide, speedsters Toni Pulu and Henry Speight will link with fullback Tom Banks.

Amongst the finishers, Dan McKellar selects Scott Sio, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin and Connal McInerney as his front row options with Darcy Swain and Murray Douglas, impressive off the bench in recent weeks, continuing to add power and mobility from the replacements.

Lonergan and Tom Wright are joined by Andy Muirhead in the back-line replacements.

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faigna’a, 1 James Slipper

Replacements:16 Conor McInerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Tom Wright, 23 Andy Muirhead

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