Tyrone Smith and Anthony Faingaa will line up as the CA Brumbies’ new look centre combination for their Investec Super 14 Week Two fixture against the Highlanders at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The Brumbies’ official website reports that the midfield was vacated after Adam Ashley-Cooper (ankle – six weeks) and Gene Fairbanks (neck – four weeks) sustained injuries during the first half of last week’s loss to the Crusaders.
Smith (one cap) and Faingaa (three caps) join former Reds blindside flanker Mitchell Chapman in making their run-on debuts for the CA Brumbies, with the centre pairing having previously represented the side off the bench.
Faingaa, who will join twin brother Saia in the CA Brumbies’ 22-man squad for the fourth time, says he’s looking forward to running on for the CA Brumbies on Saturday night.
“Being part of the starting XV and running out onto Canberra Stadium is what we all train and work so hard for,” he said. “It’s unfortunate to have lost Gene but in saying that it provides me with a great chance to have an extended run at ‘12’ and compete at this level.
“This is a great opportunity for me and it’s fantastic to be able to do it at Canberra Stadium, playing with my brother in front of my family and friends.”
Smith, who will join older brother George in the run-on line-up for the first time, says he’s excited about getting his first start since returning from rugby league.
“Last weekend and the last few weeks have been good experience for me and I know I’m all the better for the run,” he said. “I’ve had three games with the Brumbies now and I feel comfortable with the style of play and adjusting back to rugby.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me and I can’t wait to run out in front of a big crowd for our first home match at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.”
The former Australian Under 21’s halves combination of Josh Holmes and Christian Lealiifano has been retained in the starting line-up while Francis Fainifo graduates to the starting XV after replacing Fairbanks at half time last weekend.
The return of Wallaby Mark Chisholm, who will pack down beside Alister Campbell at lock, is the only other change to the CA Brumbies forwards with Chapman replacing Jone Tawake on the side of the scrum.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says the new centre pairing will provide an unknown for the Highlanders this weekend.
“While the loss of Coopy and Gene is inconvenient, it’s no excuse for Tyrone and Ant not to perform on Saturday night,” he said.
“Tyrone took a little while to settle in last weekend but when he did he created a number of opportunities and Ant showed last season that he’s very capable of competing at this level.
“This week we’ve had a strong focus on our set piece to ensure we give these guys and the rest of our backline the opportunity to play.
“This is an exciting time for us and I’d encourage everyone to get out to Canberra Stadium on Saturday night and see what the Brumbies’ new generation can do.”
The CA Brumbies bench features two changes with Peter Playford dropping back to the reserves list while Brumbies Academy and 2007 Australian Schoolboys flyer Afusipa Taumoepeau is set to make his first Investec Super 14 appearance.
Starting XV: 1 Nic Henderson, 2 Huia Edmonds, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 4 Alister Campbell, 5 Mark Chisholm, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 7 George Smith, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 9 Joshua Holmes, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Francis Fainifo, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 13 Tyrone Smith, 14 Mark Gerrard, 15 Julian Huxley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Julian Salvi, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Peter Playford, 22 Afusipa Taumoepeau.Tweet