Three Super Rugby debutants have been named in the Brumbies 23-man squad which will take on the Reds on Friday in Canberra.
Rory Arnold (lock), James Dargaville (wing, bench) and Lausii Taliauli (outside backs, bench) have all won selections. The trio will join three other big names returning from injury, with David Pocock set to captain the side while club captain Stephen Moore and Ita Vaea will also feature on the bench.
Pocock and Moore’s high-profile injury lay-offs due to knee reconstructions are over, while Vaea’s two-year battle with a heart condition has also been put to bed.
"Firstly with our captain David Pocock, we're pleased to see him back on the field after battling succesive knee injuries. I'm looking forward to his performance tomorrow," said head coach Stephen Larkham.
"We've got three players debutising tonight, starting with our 208cm lock, Rory Arnold, who becomes the tallest player in Super Rugby history. On the bench Lausii Taliauli and James Dargavilel have also impressed me. James comes from Sydney Uni and Lausii from the Aussie Sevens.
"Also on the bench is our club captain, Stephen Moore, who is going to feature for us in the second half. He'll definitely get 20 or 30 minutes in the second half.
"One of the best stories coming out of this team is the return of It Vaea. He was pretty much retired this time two years ago, but he's pushed through and everyone at the Brumbies is excited to see him back."
Of the last eight times these teams have faced each other the home side has only won on two occasions – the Reds in 2012 and the Brumbies in 2013. Last year’s season opener went to the Reds and the Brumbies will be fighting hard to get their year off to a better start.
Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Lausii Taliauli.
Date: Friday, February 13
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kickoff: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Referees: James Leckie, Will Houston
TMO: Peter Marshall