Brumbies winger Peter Playford is the only change to his side’s starting line-up for their Super 14 Week Four local derby against the Waratahs at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night.
The Brumbies’ Media Unit reports that the Sydney University speedster started last weekend’s 43-11 win over the Reds off the bench, before replacing Julian Huxley in the second minute.
Playford, who scored his first try for the CA Brumbies against the Reds with an excellent solo effort in the 77th minute, says he’s looking forward to the challenge of starting against the Waratahs.
“Last week was probably the most confident I’ve felt playing Super 14 and as a result it was probably my best for performance for the Brumbies so far,” he said. “I was able to find more space which is something I’ll be looking for against NSW.
“While we will take some confidence out of last week’s win, we recognise that there’s still a need to continue improving and we won’t be afforded the same luxuries by the Waratahs.
“I don’t think anyone is under any illusion what a challenge Friday’s match is for us. We don’t have a great record in Sydney and the Waratahs have named nine Wallabies in their squad. But in saying that, it’s a big match, we’re very excited about the challenge and these are the sort of matches you want to be involved in.”
Playford takes his place on the right wing with Mark Gerrard shifting to fullback, the position he largely occupied in his man-on-the-match performance against the Reds last weekend.
The remainder of the backline has remained unchanged with Tyrone Smith and Leo Afeaki forming the first CA Brumbies centre combination to remain in tact in consecutive weeks for 2008.
The CA Brumbies have named an identical pack with Salesi Ma’afu maintaining his position in the starting side after replacing Guy Shepherdson (hamstring) last week.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher has made one change to his bench with Australian Sevens representative Tim Wright rejoining the squad after earning two caps for the CA Brumbies in 2007.
Fisher says his reserves have performed a valuable role in the CA Brumbies’ last two wins.
“I was really pleased with the impact we got from our bench last week,” he said. “Guys like Jules [Salvi], Huia [Edmonds] and Kimmo [Kimlin] have been fantastic for us against a tiring opposition at the back end of the game.
“But there is still a realisation that last week’s performance won’t beat this week’s opposition; there is still a need to continue taking our game forward.
“We’ve had a real focus on the basics this week and executing them under pressure; our ball retention, tackle completion and set piece will need to continue to improve if we are going to challenge the Waratahs on Friday.”
Brumbies: 1 Nic Henderson, 2 Saia Faingaa, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 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 Peter Playford, 15 Mark Gerrard,
Reserves: 16 Huia Edmonds,17 Ben Alexander,18 Peter Kimlin,19 Julian Salvi,20 Joshua Holmes, 21 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 22 Tim Wright.