Brumbies make three changes for Highlanders

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made three changes to his starting XV ahead of their showdown with the Highlanders in Canberra on Saturday.

96-Test Wallaby loosehead prop James Slipper will start for the first time in 2020 with Scott Sio named as a replacement as the side look to make it three from three to start their season.

2020 recruit Will Miller gets his first opportunity in the number seven jersey, replacing Tom Cusack, who is rested following a head knock last weekend, while Darcy Swain will slot straight back into the second-row after recovering from injury.

The reshuffle also sees the return of crowd favourite Lachlan McCaffrey, local product Tom Ross and dynamic outside back Len Ikitau who have all been named in the replacements for their first appearances this season.

A win on Saturday night will see the Brumbies increase their winning streak at GIO Stadium to 11, which would be the equal second longest in the club’s history.

McKellar said: “We’re really fortunate to be able to rotate James and Scott in the front row, it’s something that worked well for us last year and we’ll keep assessing it moving forward.

“It also gives local boy Tom Ross a chance for his first match this year, he’s been working really hard on his game during the preseason and performed well for the Runners last weekend to earn an opportunity.

“I’m excited to see Will get his first start as he’s been great for us off the bench and to have Locky back is excellent too, he brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team.

“We’re really looking forward to getting out in front of our home crowd at GIO Stadium for the first time on a Saturday this year and for a great crowd to turn out for an exciting match and also to support our Super W team playing beforehand.”

Saturday’s round three fixture will also be the first Double Header of the season, with the Brumbies Super W side set to begin their 2020 campaign against RugbyWA.

The Brumbies are TAKING OVER Canberra this Saturday with an EPIC double-header!

4.35pm| Brumbies Women v Rugby WA #SuperW #BRUvRWA7.15pm | Plus500 Brumbies v Highlanders #SuperRugby #BRUvHIG

Buy tickets here:

— Plus500 Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) February 11, 2020

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (c), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Andy Muirhead

Date: Saturday, February 15 Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra Kick-off: 19:15 (08:15 GMT) Referee: Nic Berry (Australia) Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Damon Murphy (Australia) TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)