The CA Brumbies will welcome back their Wallaby pair of Guy Shepherdson and Alister Campbell for their Investec Super 14 Week Six match against the Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
Campbell (knee) and Shepherdson (hamstring) will rejoin the side off the bench after missing three matches through injury.
Brumbies Media Unit reports that Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says the pair was considered for the starting XV.
“It’s pleasing to start having players like Al and Shep available for selection but we didn’t believe it was in their best interests to throw them straight into the run-on side,” he said. “Given the lack of training load, contact work and scrummaging they’ve had over the last few weeks, we thought it best to wait for the sting to go out of the game and give them some quality game time at the back end of the match.”
The CA Brumbies have made three changes to their starting line-up with lock Peter Kimlin, scrumhalf Joshua Holmes and hooker Huia Edmonds all included in the run-on side.
Holmes returns to the starting XV for Patrick Phibbs while Edmonds replaces hooker Saia Faingaa who has been rested to recover from a hamstring strain.
Kimlin, who earns his run-on debut after eight appearances off the bench, says he’s excited about starting for the CA Brumbies for the first time.
“I’ve been fairly happy with how I’ve gone off the bench in the first few weeks and this is a new challenge for me,” he said.
“Everyone wants to be part of the starting side and I’ll be looking to make the most of this opportunity. My challenge is to match the intensity and enthusiasm of the Cheetahs and make sure I fulfill my role throughout the match rather than coming on at the end of the game against a tiring opposition.
“My game has come on a lot since I joined the Brumbies, and I feel comfortable playing at this level and I’m very excited about getting my first run-on start against the Cheetahs.”
Kimlin will pack down alongside interim captain George Smith, who will play his 100th Super Rugby match on Friday night.
The CA Brumbies outside backs remain untouched with captain Stirling Mortlock and utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper expected to return for the side’s next match against the Chiefs on 4 April.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher says he’ll be looking for Kimlin to maintain a similar involvement from the starting whistle.
“Kimmo’s been good for us in providing some punch late in the game off the bench,” he said. “He’s an explosive player with good size and speed, and his challenge is to have the same impact from the outset of the match as he has coming in later in the game.
“South African teams are very physical sides and we know we have to muscle up at the contest if we’re going to challenge the Cheetahs on Friday. We need that urgency at the breakdown and be effective at the point of contact if we’re going to mount any pressure and give ourselves an opportunity to play footy.
“The game is becoming all about that physical battle and it’s something we have to stay on top of to progress in this competition.”
Shepherdson and Campbell are joined in the bench by Phibbs, impact back-rower Julian Salvi, 2007 Australian Schoolboys Matt Toomua and Afusipa Taumoepeau, and prop-cum-hooker John Ulugia, who earns his selection in the 22-man squad for the first time in 2008.
Brumbies: 1. Nic Henderson, 2. Huia Edmonds, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 4. Peter Kimlin, 5. Mark Chisholm, 6. Mitchell Chapman, 7. George Smith, 8. Stephen Hoiles, 9. Joshua Holmes, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Francis Fainifo, 12. Tyrone Smith, 13. Sanualio Afeaki, 14. Peter Playford, 15. Mark Gerrard.
Replacements: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Alister Campbell, 19. Julian Salvi, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Afusipa Taumoepeau, 22. Matt Toomua.