The CA Brumbies have made one change to their squad for their for their Investec Super 14 Week Five fixture against the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
The Brumbies Media Unit reports that former Australian Schoolboys flyhalf and rookie-contracted Matt Toomua is set to make his Investec Super 14 debut after replacing Schoolboys team mate Afusipa Taumoepeau on the bench.
Toomua, who represented the CA Brumbies in their pre-season trial against the Waratahs, says he’s excited about making his first Investec Super 14 appearance.
“Being only 18 and on a rookie contract I wasn’t expecting to have the opportunity to make my [Super 14] debut this early,” he said. “My goal this year was to continue my rugby development as part of a professional rugby program.
“In saying that, I can’t wait for Friday and I’m very excited about the challenge of making my debut for the Brumbies. I feel very comfortable with the systems we’ve been working on and the rest of the guys have been great.
“They’ve been telling me what a great experience it is to run out in front of a big home crowd at Canberra Stadium and I’m just looking forward to being part of it for myself on Friday night.”
The CA Brumbies pack remains the same with the in-form trio of captain George Smith, Mitchell Chapman and Stephen Hoiles set to face the Hurricanes’ All Black back row of Chris Masoe, Jerry Collins and Rodney So’oialo.
Nic Henderson and Salesi Ma’afu will pack down alongside hooker Saia Faingaa, with Wallaby prop Guy Shepherdson expected to return from a hamstring injury against the Cheetahs on at Canberra Stadium on 21 March.
Fullback Mark Gerrard maintains his role at fullback following two man-of-the-match performances, while FrancisFainifo and try-scoring winger Peter Playford make up the back three. Scrumhalf Patrick Phibbs, flyhalf ChristianLealiifano and centre Tyrone Smith will resume their positions in the inside backs.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says the addition of Toomua will provide coverage in the playmaker’s role.
“Matt’s been playing well for the [Brumby] Runners and he gives us a ready-made back-up option at flyhalf,” he said. “He’s a very composed young player with a solid pass and kicking game and he’s developing very well as part of the Brumbies program.”
Fisher says his side will need to continue improving against an experienced Hurricanes outfit.
“The Hurricanes are 3-1 after four matches, we saw what they are capable of in our [pre-season] trial match and we realise what a challenge faces the side on Friday,” he said.
“They have a number of dynamic and explosive ball runners across the park that we have to contain as well as shutting down their ball at every opportunity.
“We realise that our lineout was below par last weekend and it’s vital that we provide clean, reliable set-piece ball to give the side a solid platform to play from.
“We’ve worked hard to remedy that during the week and we’re looking forward to putting it into practice in front of what we’re hoping will be another big and vocal Canberra crowd on Friday night.”
Friday’s match will kick off at 7.40pm.
Starting XV: 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. Matt Toomua, 22. Tim Wright.