Super Rugby AU

Brumbies start Hansen against Rebels

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Brumbies Super rugby head coach Dan McKellar has included homegrown talent Mack Hansen at fullback in his first start for the side in the match against the Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

The Daramalan College product and Gungahlin Eagle made his Super Rugby debut last year against the NSW Waratahs and will wear the 15 jersey in the side’s first Vodafone Super Rugby AU matchday 23.

Skipper Allan Alaalatoa will join Folau Fainga’a and James Slipper in an all-Wallabies front row with Darcy Swain and Murray Douglas making up the tight five.

Vice-captain Tom Cusack has been recalled at openside flanker and will be joined by Rob Valetini and Pete Samu in the backrow.

Joe Powell and Noah Lolesio will get a chance to reignite their combination in the halves, as will Irae Simone and Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield.

The electric Tom Wright and ever-reliable Andy Muirhead have been named on the wings with Hansen completing the back three.

After starting the Brumbies last three games pre-shutdown, Connal McInerney will be the replacement hooker alongside Scott Sio and Tom Ross as the front row reinforcements.

Lachlan McCaffrey and Will Miller are the other forward replacements, while livewire halfback Issak Fines is in line for his Super Rugby debut off the pine.

Bayley Kuenzle and Len Ikitau will cover the other backline positions and round out the matchday 23. Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: “We couldn’t be happier to see Mack earn his first start for the team.”

“He’s a local product who’s come through our system and he’s been outstanding at training, not just since we’ve returned to HQ, but all season.

“It’s also a really exciting opportunity for Issak to be making his debut on Saturday night. He’s been part of our program on a couple of occasions, he’s always impressive at training and he’s chomping at the bit to get out there and make an impact.

“The team is really excited to get back out on the field on Saturday night and it’s going to be great to have professional rugby back in Australia.”

Brumbies

1. James Slipper 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c) 4. Darcy Swain 5. Murray Douglas 6. Rob Valetini 7. Tom Cusack 8. Pete Samu 9. Joe Powell 10. Noah Lolesio 11. Tom Wright 12. Irae Simone 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Andy Muirhead 15. Mack Hansen

Replacements: 16. Connal McInerney 17. Scott Sio 18. Tom Ross 19. Lachlan McCaffrey 20. Will Miller 21. Issak Fines* 22. Bayley Kuenzle 23. Len Ikitau

*Denotes Super Rugby debut

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