Brumbies Academy centre Leo Afeaki has been called into the CA Brumbies starting line-up to take on the Reds in their Investec Super 14 Week Three match at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The Brumbies Media Unit reports that the Sydney University outside back was recruited into the Brumbies Academy at the end of 2007 and will join inside centre Tyrone Smith in the CA Brumbies new midfield combination.
The 20 year old replaces injured centre Anthony Faingaa (knee) who joins captain Stirling Mortlock (shoulder), Adam Ashley-Cooper (ankle), Gene Fairbanks (neck), Clyde Rathbone (knee) and Peter Betham (foot) on the sideline.
Afeaki, who forms the third centre pairing in as many weeks, says he’s ready to make his Investec Super 14 debut.
“When I joined the Brumbies I wasn’t expecting to play Super 14 so quickly,” he said. “But I’ve been here for three months now, I’m comfortable with the guys and how we play.
“This is a great challenge but a good opportunity for me to play at this level.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Phibbs is the only other change to the CA Brumbies’ backline with the scrumhalf set to make his first run-on appearance for 2008, replacing Josh Holmes who reverts to the bench.
Phibbs says he’s looking forward to running on for the CA Brumbies this weekend.
“It’s always preferable to start over coming off the bench and I’m excited about running on against the Reds in front of a big crowd on Saturday night,” he said.
“Now I’ve been given this opportunity, it’s up to me to provide that good service for the guys outside me, check all the boxes and look to play some footy that warrants regular selection in the starting side.
“We got a fantastic reception [from the Canberra Stadium crowd] against the Highlanders and against another one of the Australian teams I’d like to think we could top that on Saturday night.”
The CA Brumbies pack has received a reshuffle with Adam Wallace-Harrison replacing the injured Alister Campbell (knee) while hooker Saia Faingaa earns his first appearance in the starting XV, with Huia Edmonds joining the reserves list.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says he opted against rearranging existing players in the starting XV to cover the vacant positions.
“We weren’t keen to make wholesale changes,” he said. “The backline’s been disrupted enough already and it didn’t seem logical to move the guys who have played in the first two matches and have are finding their combinations in the team.
“Leo’s a young player with good size and speed. He’s played against Morgan Turinui and Chris Siale in the Sydney club rugby competition and I’m sure he’ll take a lot of confidence out of that for Saturday night.
“The challenge for us is to ensure that we continue to take our set piece forward and provide a solid foundation and clean ball for the Leo and the backline to get the opportunity to execute [our game plan] on Saturday.”
Saturday’s match will kick off at 10:40 SA Time.
Starting XV:1 Nic Henderson, 2 Saia Faingaa, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 5 Mark Chisholm, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 7 George Smith, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Francis Fainifo, 12 Tyrone Smith, 13 Sanualio Afeaki, 14 Mark Gerrard, 15 Julian Huxley.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Julian Salvi, 20 Joshua Holmes, 21 Peter Playford, 22 Afusipa Taumoepeau.Tweet