Best XV in 2018: ACT Brumbies

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

As the start of the Australian Super Rugby season draws near, is previewing each team's best XV for 2018.

The Brumbies have touched down in Tokyo as they prepare for their opener against the Sunwolves and they're the last team to go under the microscope.

In case you missed it, we've already had a look at the best possible teams for the Reds, Waratahs and Rebels.

Who will be first picked in Dan McKellar's side?

1. Scott Sio

Sio will be one of the leaders in the Brumbies pack. Photo: Getty ImagesA simple pick to start. Sio established his standing as Australia's premier loosehead prop with a stellar 2017 and as a 26-year-old, he is only now entering the peak years for a prop.

2. Josh Mann-Rea

The man they call 'Bongo' faced stiff competition this year with Robbie Abel showing his capabilities during Mann-Rea's injury layoff last year and boom rookie Folau Faingaa joining the squad but Mann-Rea has blossomed into a reliable player at both set piece and in general play.

3. Allan Alaalatoa

Another no brainer up front, with Alaalatoa another regular in Michael Cheika's Wallabies setup. He may have been relegated to finisher duties on the international stage but he will form a critical part of the Brumbies' Australian Conference defence, as he builds on strong scrummaging with added wrinkles to his attacking play around the park.

4. Rory Arnold

Rory Arnold will be one of the Brumbies' primary sources of go forward. Photo: Getty ImagesOne of four strong options in the second row, Arnold will be the Brumbies' primary source of go forward in the tight five. His long, loping running style makes him a hard man to bring down and at 208cm, he remains the go to lineout option.

5. Sam Carter

The co-captain was one of ACT's most consistent players in 2017 and he will once again be an integral part of their campaign. Carter runs the team's lineout, is a serviceable ball carrier and gets through plenty of the tough work at the breakdown which is often sight unseen.

6. Rob Valetini

Rob Valetini will be a big chance to claim rookie of the year honours. Photo: WalmsleyMcKellar appears eager to unleash both Valetini and Isi Naisarani - a two-pronged attack with ball in hand that could prove a masterstroke. Valetini cuts an imposing figure at 193cm and 113kg and he uses every part of that frame to bash the defensive line with every touch. One to watch.

7. David Pocock

Granted, Pocock will be out for half the Super Rugby season but once he returns to full fitness, he will slot straight in at openside flanker. In his absence, Lachlan McCaffrey has been the go to option through the preseason ahead of Vikings captain Tom Cusack.

8. Isi Naisarani

Naisarani could prove to be an outstanding recruit. Photo: WalmsleyNaisarani could prove to be one of the recruits of the year, if his preseason form is anything to go by. He was an underrated weapon at the back of the Force pack in 2017 and he is only just hitting his straps. He will be one half of a devastating one-two punch alongside Valetini.

9. Joe Powell

Stepped up in Tomas Cubelli's absence and established himself as Michael Cheika's third string option after a stellar season. Another big year could see him displace Nick Phipps as the Wallabies' regular foil for Will Genia.

10. Christian Lealiifano

Lealiifano resumes his role as the team's chief playmaker, having missed the majority of 2017 battling leukaemia. He has looked sharp in both of the Brumbies' trials and will be crucial to their success.

11. Chance Peni

After a breakout 2017 for the Force, the Brumbies will be looking to Peni for some spark this season. He has lightning feet and a sharp burst of acceleration, assets that will serve him well outside an established playmaking core.

12. Kyle Godwin

Kyle Godwin has been solid as a rock since making the move east. Photo: WalmsleyGodwin hasn't set the world on fire since making the move east but he is still an above average option as a playmaking foil for Lealiifano.

13. Tevita Kuridrani

One of the Wallabies' most consistent players in 2017, Kuridrani will once again be a pivotal piece of the puzzle for ACT. His defensive work is unparalleled and the lines he runs in attack open up plenty of space for those around him.

14. Henry Speight

Speight has had a mortgage on the right wing jersey in recent years and that won't change in 2018.

15. Tom Banks

Banks was the Brumbies' best find in 2017 and he will push for a Wallabies debut in 2018 should he up his game once more.

The Brumbies kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, kicking off at 3:15pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.