Planet Rugby

Kuridrani returns for Brumbies

27th March 2014 05:07

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Tevita Kuridrani Brumbies v W Force SR 2014

13: Tevita Kuridrani

The Brumbies have made just one change to their staring side which beat the Stormers last weekend, with Tevita Kuridrani named at outside centre after a week off for a family funeral.

Kuridrani's inclusion pushes Andrew Smith to the bench, where he is joined by Christian Lealiifano for his first appearance in a Brumbies jersey this season.

Lealiifano has spent the last five months in rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on his ankle to adjust problems associated with his last reconstruction in 2012.

With Lionel Cronje, Stephan van der Walt and Michael Dowsett dropping off the bench, Smith, Lealiifano and Conrad Hoffmann have all been named as impact players.

Head Coach Stephen Larkham said the team had spent the week preparing for a fierce local derby against a Melbourne side with its season on the line.

"This week had been about getting the players physically right, we've had a couple of really bruising encounters over the last couple of weeks so this week has been nice and light," said Larkham.

"We've spoken about being one of the best teams in the competition, and the best teams in the competition win every week. It means being consistent every week, playing good rugby every week and that's certainly something we are focussing on.

"They've got some really powerful players right across the board. Their outside backs are big and physical, I guess it's up to us to handle that as best we can and play our own game around that."

The Brumbies have won five of six encounters between the two clubs, with the Rebels only win over the Canberra-based club coming the first time the teams met in round two of 2011. It was the Rebels first ever win as a club.

Nic White needs just 17 points to push his career tally to 100, while Jesse Mogg and Robbie Coleman battle it out to be the Brumbies highest try-scorer with both players currently on four a piece.

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

Date: Friday, March 28
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kickoff: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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