TEAM NEWS: Brumbies ring the changes with five new faces for Rebels clash

Super Rugby
by AAP

The Brumbies will be boosted by the return of star winger Henry Speight for their critical Super Rugby return bout against the Melbourne Rebels.

Coach Dan McKellar has made three changes to the starting line-up for the match at AAMI Park on Friday night as they look to atone for a 30-point thumping from the Hurricanes last week.

Former Wallaby Speight has recovered from a hip injury suffered three weeks ago as Chance Peni is demoted to the bench.

Code-switcher Tom Wright has been given his first starting spot at no.12, in the place of Irae Simone.

Sam Carter is heading to Ulster. Photo: Getty ImagesPromising flanker Rob Valetini is back in place of former Crusader Pete Samu, while Tom Cusack is in for the injured Lachlan McCaffrey.

Highly-rated halfback Ryan Lonergan has been named on the bench ahead of Matt Lucas.

It is the second week the Brumbies have made multiple changes after their four switches to the starting side against the Hurricanes.

McKellar said the changes had not upset momentum and team chemistry for the trip to New Zealand.

"I don't think we're chopping and changing in critical positions," he said.

"I think as long as you're not making mass changes around your playmakers, that's a bit of disruption, but we'll back whoever we put in the team.

"We don't make changes that we don't trust or believe in and that was the case last week and it will be the case this week."

The Brumbies will battle the Rebels on Friday night for the third time in six weeks following their trial match in January and round one clash.

It looms as a vital early season encounter for the Brumbies who will slip to 1-3 if they can't redeem their previous 34-27 loss to the Rebels in Canberra.

"We certainly learned a couple of things out of round one, but it's going to be another tough clash down there," McKellar said.

"It's an eight-point game, really."

The Brumbies meet the Rebels in Melbourne at AAMI Park on Friday at 7.45pm. LIVE on FoxSports and radio.


15. Tom Banks

14. Henry Speight

13. Tevita Kuridrani

12. Tom Wright

11. Andy Muirhead

10. Christian Lealiifano

9. Joe Powell

8. Tom Cusack

7. David Pocock

6. Rob Valetini

5. Sam Carter

4, Rory Arnold

3. Allan Alaalatoa

2. Folau Fainga'a

1. Scott Sio.

Res: Josh Mann-Rea, James Slipper, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Murray Douglas, Pete Samu, Ryan Lonergan, Wharenui Hawera, Chance Peni.