Brumbies bring in Speight

15th Feb 2013, 07:19

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Starter: Henry Speight

Starter: Henry Speight

The Brumbies have made just one change to their team for Saturday's opening game of their season as Henry Speight starts at 14.

The Brumbies have made just one change to their team for Saturday's opening game of their season as Henry Speight starts on the wing.

Speight came from the bench last week and made a positive impact against the Force in Darwin. He was the Brumbies and Australian Conference top-try scorer in the 2012 season.

The clash with the Reds is a special match for Clyde Rathbone, who makes his return to rugby after three years out of the game to claim his 50th Brumbies cap. Lining up for their first competition games in Brumbies colours are Siliva Siliva and David Pocock.

Siliva, who has been named on the bench behind Stephen Moore, has come through a season of injuries in 2012 to be 100 per cent fit for his Super Rugby debut on Saturday night. He's joined by his former Western Force team-mate Pocock who earns his 70th Super Rugby cap as a Brumby.

White was pleased to give Siliva a chance on the bench after the former Australian U20's hooker worked his way back from a tough place last year.

"[Siliva's] waited a long time, the poor guy got two terrible knee injuries then had to wait behind Anthony Hegarty so I'm sure he's excited and relieved to be at this point," White said.

"I've seen him play before, I went to Perth when we signed him and I can say he's a very skilful player, Siliva will fit into what we're doing without any trouble."

With Pocock and Rathbone both featuring for the Brumbies on Saturday, White was pleased with the strength of his squad.

"This is by far the best side we can put on the field this weekend, there's no point in playing ducks and drakes out there - this is our team, we know our job and we are looking forward to putting it into action," he said.

"What's nice about our team is that we finalised it a long time ago. I'm enjoying the fact that we are being talked up, particularly when you think of where we were this time last year, no-one knew what to expect from.

"There's pressure every week - we are playing at home and that's something you can't take away. The way we deal with that pressure will be the difference on Saturday. I'd far rather have the pressure of being taken seriously that being underdogs all the time.

"If we are good enough to beat the Reds, who have been Australian Champions for the last two years, then we're good enough to beat anyone."

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 David Pocock, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Colby Faingaa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Joseph Tomane, 22 Robbie Coleman.

Date: Saturday, February 16
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)