The CA Brumbies have named four new faces for their Week One Investec Super 14 match against the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday night.
The Brumbies’ Media unit reports that Flyhalf Christian Lealiifano and reserve back Tyrone Smith are set to make their Investec Super 14 debuts while hooker Huia Edmonds (previously with the Waratahs and Stormers) and former Waratahs scrumhalf Josh Holmes will make their first competition appearance for the CA Brumbies.
Lealiifano, who has represented the Australian Under 19’s and Under 21’s, says he’s excited about making his Investec Super 14 debut.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” he said. “It’s been fantastic training alongside and learning off guys like Hux [Julian Huxley] and Bernie [Stephen Larkham], which is the best preparation a flyhalf could have for playing Super 14.
“I played 19’s and 21’s with Josh and it’s great to play outside him again, and guys like Hux, Gene [Fairbanks] and Coopy [Adam Ashley-Cooper] have been fantastic and I feel very comfortable as part of this backline.
“The Crusaders are a quality side and this is a great chance for me to test myself against some of the best players in the world, especially someone like Dan Carter.”
Lealiifano’s selection at flyhalf allows Julian Huxley to shift to fullback while Adam Ashley-Cooper will start at outside centre in place of injured captain Stirling Mortlock.
Edmonds will be joined in the CA Brumbies front row by the Wallaby pairing of Nic Henderson and Guy Shepherdson. George Smith will captain the side from openside flanker, packing down in the back row alongside Jone Tawake and Stephen Hoiles.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says Lealiifano is ready to make his Investec Super 14 debut.
“Christian has stepped up in each challenge he’s been presented and this is a great opportunity for him to take the next step,” he said. “He was strong for the Vikings through the ARC [Australian Rugby Championship], he has trained very well through the pre-season and he showed during the trials that he has what it takes to control a Super 14 backline.
“But he’s not going out there on his own; there is an experienced backline outside him and a number of world-class loose forwards who will also help him out against one of the premier provincial sides in world rugby.”
Starting XV: 1 Nic Henderson, 2 Huia Edmonds, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 4 Alister Campbell, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 6 Jone Tawake, 7 George Smith, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 9 Joshua Holmes, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Peter Playford, 12 Gene Fairbanks, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Mark Gerrard, 15 Julian Huxley.
Replacements:16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Julian Salvi, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Tyrone Smith, 22 Francis Fainifo.Tweet