Brumbies reshuffle pack for Stormers clash


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The CA Brumbies have made three changes to their forward pack for their Investec Super 14 Week 11 clash against the Stormers at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town on Saturday night.

Versatile back-rower Stephen Hoiles returns to the starting line-up after two weeks on the bench against the Sharks and Lions. Hoiles will run on at blindside flanker, joining George Smith and Julian Salvi at the back of the scrum. Mitchell Chapman will start on the reserves list.

The front row has also received two changes with Salesi Ma’afu replacing Guy Shepherdson at tighthead prop for his fifth start of the season, while Saia Faingaa replaces John Ulugia at hooker in the only other change to the starting XV.

Ma’afu says he’s looking forward to starting against the Stormers.

‘This is an important match for us and I think every player enjoys starting in the big games,’ he said. ‘I’ve been fairly happy with my form this season but I’m still learning the game and these matches are important for a player’s development.

‘The Stormers have a very strong set piece and we’ve had a strong focus on our scrum and lineout during the week.

‘Personally, I’m looking to continue taking my game forward and building on the good work Sheppy has done over the past few weeks.’

The CA Brumbies’ backline remains unchanged with captain and last week’s man-of-the-match Stirling Mortlock leading the side from outside centre alongside midfield partner Tyrone Smith. Francis Fainifo and Adam Ashley-Cooper will occupy the wings with fullback Mark Gerrard making up the back three.

Head Coach Laurie Fisher has again opted for five forwards on the bench with Chapman, Ulugia and Shepherdson, joining Peter Kimlin and Ben Alexander. Afusipa Taumoepeau returns to the 22-man squad next to Josh Holmes as the replacement backs.

CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says finding optimal game time for players is integral during the final weeks of the Investec Super 14.

‘Across our three weeks away it’s important to maintain a balance between keeping players fresh and giving others game time,’ he said. ‘Salesi’s been very solid for us off the bench over the past few matches and we saw this as a good opportunity to give him a start and use Shep off the bench during what is an important three weeks for us.

‘The Stormers are one of, if not the form team of the competition and we realise that we’ll require a much-improved performance on last week [against the Lions].

‘They’ve performed very well on the back of a lineout that’s operating at 91 per cent. We’ve had a focus on our set piece to make sure we’re not giving away any free possession as well as ensuring we get pay for any opportunities we create.’

Saturday’s match will kick off at 5.05pm (local time).

CA Brumbies to take on the Stormers:

1. Nic Henderson, 2. Saia Faingaa,3. Salesi Ma’afu, 4. Alister Campbell, 5. Mark Chisholm, 6. Stephen Hoiles, 7. George Smith, 8. Julian Salvi, 9. Patrick Phibbs, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Francis Fainifo, 12. Tyrone Smith, 13. Stirling Mortlock (c), 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper. 15. Mark Gerrard.

Reserves: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Peter Kimlin, 19. Ben Alexander, 20. Mitchell Chapman, 21. Joshua Holmes, 22. Afusipa Taumoepeau.

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