The CA Brumbies have made three changes to their starting line-up for their for their Investec Super 14 Week Nine fixture against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday night.
Fullback Mark Gerrard returns from a hamstring strain after missing the CA Brumbies’ last round match against the Chiefs. Gerrard will wear the ‘15’ jumper with Adam Ashley-Cooper shifting to the wing while Francis Fainifo reverts to the bench, as reported on the Brumbies website.
Gerrard, who was named man of the match against the Reds and Waratahs, says he’s keen to be back in the CA Brumbies’ line-up after a week on the sidelines.
“The hamstring feels fine at the moment,” he said. “It didn’t give me any trouble during yesterday’s training session and it responded really well to treatment and rehab last week so I’m very confident it won’t be an issue on Saturday.”
The CA Brumbies forward pack has received two changes with Saia Faingaa reclaiming his hooking role from John Ulugia in the run-on side while Julian Salvi replaces Stephen Hoiles at No.8.
Salvi, who re-signed with the CA Brumbies for two years this week, says he’s looking forward to his first run-on start for the season.
“I’ve been fairly pleased with how I’ve been going off the bench so far this season, but now it’s a matter of doing that for an extended period on Saturday,” he said.
“We know we need to front up against a very physical Blues side and ensure that we’re going hard at the ball.”
Explosive back-rower Jone Tawake and mobile prop Ben Alexander return to the 22-man squad as part of an extended bench, alongside fellow forwards Ulugia, Salesi Ma’afu and Peter Kimlin. Teenage flyhalf Matt Toomua, scrumhalf Joshua Holmes and Fainifo have been included as backs reserves.
One player will be removed from the bench prior to Saturday’s match.
1. Nic Henderson, 2. Saia Faingaa, 3. Guy Shepherdson, 4. Alister Campbell, 5. Mark Chisholm, 6. Mitchell Chapman, 7. George Smith, 8. Julian Salvi, 9. Patrick Phibbs, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Peter Playford, 12. Tyrone Smith, 13. Stirling Mortlock (capt), 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15. Mark Gerrard
16. John Ulugia, 17. Salesi Ma’afu, 18. Peter Kimlin, 19. Jone Tawake, 20. Joshua Holmes, 21. Matt Toomua, 22. Francis Fainifo,
23. Ben Alexander
**one to be omitted