Wallabies lock Rory Arnold has returned to the starting line-up for the Brumbies’ Round 15 clash with the Bulls at GIO Stadium on Friday.
Arnold returns to the team in the only change to the run-on side that defeated the Sunwolves 33-0 a fortnight ago, the Brumbies enjoying the bye week and emerging still top of the Australian Conference standings, with four matches left to play.
There’s also a welcome return for flanker Rob Valetini, the young back-row back in action after missing the last seven matches through injury.
Valetini is included amongst the replacements, one of six forwards that head coach Dan McKellar has chosen in expectation of a tough, physical battle against the South Africans.
After the exciting attacking display against the Sunwolves, in which the Brumbies scored five tries including two sparkling tries touched down by Henry Speight and Tom Banks, it’s not surprising that the team remains settled with the duo selected in the back three alongside fellow speedster Toni Pulu.
Tevita Kuridrani, who had three try assists to his name against the Sunwolves, will line-up in midfield alongside Irae Simone, the midfield pairing creating a heap of space with some incisive running in their last outing.
Up front, Arnold will resume his locking partnership with the experienced Sam Carter ahead of a back-row of Jahrome Brown, Tom Cusack and Pete Samu, the trio picked to start a fourth successive match together and aiming to continue their impressive form of recent weeks.
The bench split sees opportunities for Ryan Lonergan and Tom Wright as the backline cover with Valetini one of half-a-dozen potential forward changes available to McKellar and his coaching team.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Rob Valetini, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Wright
Date: Friday, May 24 Venue: GIO Stadium Kick-off: 19:45 local (10:45 BST, 09:45 GMT) Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Paul Williams (New Zealand) TMO: James Leckie (Australia)