Brumbies

Mortlock to return for assault on play offs

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Wallabies and Brumbies captain Stirling Mortlock will make his long-awaited comeback in his 100th Super game for the Brumbies against the Chiefs in his familiar No13 jersey.


The Brumbies will also be boosted by the return of Adam Ashley-Cooper who will also make his first appearances of the season for the Brumbies in the match against the Chiefs.


The Brumbies have the bye this week and the pair are expected to use this week as final preparation for their comeback match.


Mortlock will relieve George Smith of his role as captain and he will take over the goal-kicking duties from Mark Gerrard who is injured.


There has been speculation about Mortlock playing inside centre. While that may be a long-term option, he will play outside centre against the Chiefs.


“I suspect Stirling will slot into 13,” Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher said in the Australian.


“I’m not sure about playing him in an unfamiliar position with no training. We want to get the most out of him.”


Mortlock’s return will be a huge boost for the Brumbies who are sixth on the league table but are set to launch a charge for the play offs following their win against the Cheetahs in Canberra on Friday. .


Mortlock is one of the more experienced Brumbies and his presence alone will boost the team.


One player who will benefit enormously from having Mortlock alongside him is inside centre Tyrone Smith, who scored a try against the Cheetahs last week. .


“Tyrone Smith has been going well at 12,” Fisher said.


“He has been playing outside an inexperienced five-eighth (Christian Lealiifano) and an inexperienced 13 (Sanualio Afeaki) and he has been doing exceptionally well.


“The experience of Stirling Mortlock will enhance his game.”


Adam Ashley-Cooper’s return could not have come at a better time for the Brumbies after Gerrard was injured last week and he is expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury. This mean that Ashley-Cooper will make his comeback in the No15 jersey.


“Gerrard is unlikely to play,” Fisher said.


“I can’t see him playing. It’s not a major injury, but it could be. It will be a couple of weeks.”


“Shepherdson and Campbell will be better for having a run under their belt,” Fisher said.


The Brumbies were in a must win situation against the Cheetahs at home last week in order to keep their finals hopes alive and they produced their first bonus-point victory for the season, winning 29-23.


“Like all games, it was pretty tough and was a hard contest at the tackle,” Fisher said.


“We were under pressure at the set pieces, but we put enough attack together to get four tries.”


Fisher knows that facing the Chiefs will be a lot tougher than the Cheetahs after the Chiefs beat the Bulls 43-27 in Rotorua on Saturday.


“It was this time last year that they started to play significantly better football,” Fisher said.


“I didn’t see last night’s game, but they seem to be getting more flow to their game.


“They will be quite a challenge. They have plenty of pace.”

 

Super14.com

 

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