ON the eve of the Super Rugby season, new Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has shown his hand by naming a full strength line up for Wednesday’s trial match against the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast.
Ten Wallabies have been named in the squad, with nine in the starting side including playmaker and co-captain Christian Lealiifano.
Only star Wallaby David Pocock is missing from the side, with the world class openside flanker recovering from knee surgery which will see him miss the opening rounds of the Super Rugby competition.
PERSPECTIVE: Pocock on gap year, eyes early return
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The tight five remains the same as 2017, but McKellar has named a brand new backrow combination following the off-season departures of Scott Fardy, Chris Alcock and Jarrad Butler
Talented teenager Rob Valetini has been named at blindside flanker while recruit Lachie McCaffrey fills in for Pocock at openside and former Force backrower Isi Naisarani gets the nod at No 8.
Joe Powell and Lealiifano form a Test halves combination and the duo have a balanced midfield combination outside them in Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani.
Another former Force flyer, Chance Peni, joins Test star Henry Speight on the wing and Tom Banks has secured the fullback spot.
McKellar will likely ring the changes at halftime with 13 players named on an extended bench, including recruits Richie Arnold and Matt Lucas.
The Brumbies are the defending Australian conference champions and open their campaign in Tokyo against the Sunwolves on February 24.
Brumbies (15-1): Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Chance Peni, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Lachlan McCaffrey, Rob Valetini, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Scott Sio
Reserves: Robbie Abel, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Blake Blake Enever, Richie Arnold, Tom Cusack, Lolo Fakaosilea, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Lausii Taliauli, Andrew Smith, James Dargaville, Andrew Muirhead
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