Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham has named a side with eleven Wallabies and three debutants for Friday’s Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes at GIO Stadium.
Tomás Cubelli, Aidan Toua and Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin have all been named to make their Brumbies debut against last year’s beaten finalists.
Scrum-half Cubelli, who has 45-test caps for Argentina will make his Super Rugby debut after linking with the Brumbies on a two-year deal following some standout performances at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Los Pumas.
Toua, whose last visit to GIO Stadium was as a Queensland Red in 2014, has been named at full-back.
24-year old Leulua’iali’i-Makin has risen through the ranks of ACT rugby and was one of the standout performers of the UC Vikings during the 2015 National Rugby Championship. He has been named as a reserve.
Also named in the match-day 23 is Andrew Smith, who will be playing his first game for the Brumbies since leaving the club at the end of 2014 for a stint in Europe.
Friday’s match will be Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore’s 150th Super Rugby appearance. Moore will start at hooker and in doing so become just the sixth player in the competition’s history to reach the milestone.
Joining Moore as co-captain for the first time is Christian Lealiifano who will start at flyhalf. Lealiifano is second on the Brumbies all-time scoring list and will become the brumbies 14th all-time captain when he takes to the field on Friday night.
Allan Alaalatoa will start his first match on home soil after being named at loosehead prop. The 22-year old’s only other Super Rugby start was in 2015 against the Lions in Johannesburg (South Africa). His pre-season form has been formidable, scoring one try during the trial match against the Waratahs in Wagga Wagga.
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Allan Alaalatoa
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong
Date: Friday, February 26
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19:40 local (8:40 GMT, 10:40 SA)
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)