Pocock cleared, Slipper to start for Brumbies

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

David Pocock has been cleared to play in the Brumbies' season opener with James Slipper set for his first ACT start.

Pocock was under an injury cloud after suffering a calf injury in Wallabies camp last month but the flanker has been named to start in the backrow for his first 2019 outing.

Slipper, who joined the Brumbies from the Reds ahead of the 2019 season, will start ahead of Scott Sio in Friday night's clash against the Rebels 

Pete Samu will make his Brumbies debut off the bench, with Rob Valetini and Lochie McCaffrey joining Pocock in the back row.

Former Waratahs centre Irae Simone's preseason form has earned him a start at 12, combining with Tevita Kuridrani in the centres as Toni Pulu starts on the wing.

Irae Simone will make his Brumbies debut on Friday night. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyCoach Dan McKellar had predicted some selection headaches after the team's final trial and he reiterated that sentiment on Thursday.

"Trial form was massive in selections. It was the first time we had a look at Speighty, for example," he said.

"He played really well in the 40 minutes he had against the Waratahs. There were a number of positions that weren’t locked in.

It’s the first time we have been in that position in a while, to be honest. We want competition and we need depth.

"They’re tough conversations to have … but as a coach it’s nice to have to make those calls.

"Tough choices but the players’ attitudes have been fantastic. We have a little theme that we are 1 to 40, not 1 to 23. And everyone knows how important their role is this week and just really proud how guys who have had to face a bit of adversity this week have dealt with it."

The Brumbies take on the Rebels on Friday February 15 at GIO Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

TEAM

Brumbies to face Rebels

1. James Slipper

2. Folau Fainga’a

3. Allan Alaalatoa

4. Rory Arnold

5. Sam Carter

6. Rob Valetini

7. David Pocock

8. Lachlan McCaffrey

9. Joe Powell

10. Christian Lealiifano (c)

11. Toni Pulu

12. Irae Simone

13. Tevita Kuridrani

14. Henry Speight

15. Tom Banks

Reserves

16. Josh Mann-Rea

17. Scott Sio

18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin

19. Blake Enever

20. Peter Samu

21. Matt Lucas

22. Wharenui Hawera

23. Andy Muirhead