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Qantas Wallabies squad members Peter Kimlin and Scott Sio will join Canberra club star, Chris Cocca when the University of Canberra Brumbies take on the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday night.
An impressive season with Easts in Canberra’s John I Dent Cup has catapulted Cocca into the big time with the burly prop now set to tackle one of the world’s most respected set pieces.
Starting from an eight-man bench, Cocca is joined by fellow debutant prop, Jean-Pierre Smith as two of four new inclusions to the team which pummelled the Rebels two weeks ago. Smith’s identical twin brother, Ruan Smith, will start at tight-head prop.
Andrew Smith has also been included at inside-centre in his first match since straining his hamstring against the Highlanders in round nine. He comes into the side for Pat McCabe who has been included in the Wallabies squad. Mark Swanepoel has been named on the bench, with Ian Prior to start in place of Nic White who has a fractured scapular. The team will be skippered by Kimlin, who led the Brumbies to victory in the absence of White, two Friday’s ago against the Rebels.
“It’s fantastic for Chris that he has this opportunity to face the Lions. I’m sure he is still pinching himself,” Head Coach Jake White said.
“He’s been in fantastic form for Easts and deserves this shot at the Lions. It’s a bit of a new situation for us, with an eight man bench, but JP [Jean-Pierre Smith] has been training with us for a month now and he’s comfortable with the job ahead of him.
“I think it’s a good indication that the competition in Canberra is becoming stronger, that we can take the local players and play them against a quality outfit like the Lions.
“In the backs it’s comforting to be able to include a guy like Andrew Smith, who’s got plenty of experience. With Tevita [Kuridrani], they form a big centre pairing and it will be interesting to see how they combine.
“This is a huge occasions for us as a team, but also individually. The Lions are one of rugby’s last romantic sides, there is plenty of history there and we know that beating the Lions will go down in Canberra’s rugby folk law for many years to come.”
In 2001, minus the majority of their stars away with the Wallabies, the Brumbies went pain-stakingly close to knocking the Lions over at Canberra Stadium. A late try to Austin Healey saved the Lions, who won 30-28, but it was a moment Brumbies supporters have not forgotten and they will be hoping their side can go one better on Tuesday night.
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Tuesday, 18 June, 2013
University of Canberra Brumbies v British and Irish Lions
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ruan Smith
2. Siliva Siliva
3. Scott Sio
4. Leon Power
5. Sam Carter
6. Scott Fardy
7. Colby Faingaa
8. Peter Kimlin (c)
9. Ian Prior
10. Matt Toomua
11. Clyde Rathbone
12. Andrew Smith
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Jean-Pierre Smith
18. Chris Cocca
19. Etienne Oosthuizen
20. Jordan Smiler
21. Mark Swanepoel
22. Robbie Coleman
23. Zack Holmes