Lealiifano starts for Brumbies

24th Apr 2014, 05:39

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Timely return: Christian Lealiifano

Timely return: Christian Lealiifano

Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano will make his first start of the season after being named in the Brumbies team to face the Chiefs.

Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano will make his first start of the season after being named in the Brumbies team for Friday's grand final rematch against the Chiefs.

Lealiifano makes a long-awaited return, having missed the first month of the season due to ankle surgery sustained on the Wallabies November tour to Europe.

Lealiifano will start at inside centre at the expense of the in-form Pat McCabe, who has dropped to the bench, in a side that features two changes.

"He's a big game player - right through the Lions series, right through the Wallabies season and how he performed at the back end of last Super Rugby season," said Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher.

"Paddy has done exceptionally well. But we need to be working towards finding out our absolute best 15," Fisher said.

"And we think it's important in this game to have a ball player at second receiver."

The only other change to the starting XV is the return of lock Sam Carter to the second row after missing two matches with a knee injury.

On the bench, Tom McVerry will make his first Brumbies appearance after being called into the squad following the season-ending injury to David Pocock. Tom Staniforth drops out of the match-day 23.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.

Date: Friday, April 25
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Kickoff: 17:40 (local, 07:40 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)