The Brumbies have named an unchanged starting team to play the Chiefs in Canberra but made three changes to the bench that came on in the victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last week.
The match pits Australia’s top side and New Zealand’s top side and as the Stormers have a bye this week the winner of the clash will almost certainly be the top team in the standings.
Josh Mann-Rea returns to the squad as a replacements following a one-week suspension, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin also returns after missing the match against the Cheetahs and scrumhalf Joe Powell comes into the squad as a reserve for the first time this season.
Scott Sio, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander (who scored his 20th career try last week) will pack down in the front row while Rory Arnold and Sam Carter have been named as locks.
Scott Fardy, David Pocock and Ita Vaea will form an imposing backrow while Tomás Cubelli and Christian Lealiifano continue to link up in the halves.
Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani are the centres while Joe Tomane and Robbie Coleman remain on the wing. Coleman started his first match of 2016 in the win over the Cheetahs following injury to Henry Speight. Aidan Toua rounds out the starting side at fullback after scoring his first Brumbies try on Saturday.
Mann-Rea is one of three players in the Brumbies squad to have scored two tries over the opening five rounds of competition and will be a valuable addition to the reserves list along with Leulua’iali’i-Makin and Powell.
For Powell, tonight will be his first appearance for the Brumbies in almost 12 months. In 2015 he was thrown into Super Rugby when Nic White was injured. Powell was then plucked out of the John I Dent Cup to make three appearances from the bench in Stephen Larkham’s side.
Now, he is regarded as one of the best up and coming young scrumhalves in Australian Rugby. The 21-year old’s performances in the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship earned him the UC Vikings Best Back Award.
After starting this season on an Extended Playing Squad contract, Powell recently signed a new two-year deal to stay with the Brumbies.
Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (c), Ben Alexander, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, David Pocock, Ita Vaea, Tomás Cubelli , Christian Lealiifano (c), Robbie Coleman, Matt Toomua, Tevita Kuridrani, Joe Tomane, Aidan Toua
Replacements : Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Tom Staniforth, Jordan Smiler, Joe Powell, James Dargaville, Nigel Ah Wong