Battered Brumbies turn to captain Swain ahead of Pasifika clash

Wed, Mar 20, 2024, 5:02 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

The ACT Brumbies have named lock Darcy Swain as a surprise captain as they prepare for Friday's clash with Moana Pasifika.

Swain becomes the 20th Brumby to captain the side, partnering Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.

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It continues his rise after his delayed start due to injury, coming off the bench last week in the win over the Highlanders.

It comes after injuries across the park for Stephen Larkham's side, including vice-captain Andy Muirhead.

Muirhead picked up a knee injury to go with a bloody nose after their win over the Highlanders, joined on the sidelines by  Len Ikitau (Knee) and Blake Schoupp (Shoulder).

"Andy Muirhead came off with a bit of blood, but also picked up a knee injury as well and is most likely not available this week and most likely out for a couple of weeks," Brumbies coach Larkham said on Monday.

"Len Ikitau, also with a knee, is probably slightly worse than Andy, so not expecting him to be right this week nor next week."

It sees Hudson Creighton come in for the first time in 2024, partnering Tamati Tua in the centres.

Ollie Sapsford shifts to the wing in place of Muirhead, with Corey Toole and Tom Wright completing the back three.

Harry Vella will make his Super Rugby Pacific debut in the front row, with the Canberra Royal recovering after a series of injuries since he joined the club in 2021.

The return of Charlie Cale eases the injury burden, having missed the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, Harrison Goddard starts alongside Noah Lolesio in the halves, pushing Ryan Lonergan on the bench.

"I've only had the two games off the bench, so I'm just biding my time and loving it here," he said.

"My game is just to create some spark, use my running game and kicking game, and hopefully I can get better and better as the year goes on.

"We've got some great No.9s here so whatever role '(Larkham) and the coaching staff want me to do, I'll fill that. If that's starting, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, I'm ready to go, to put on the jersey and do it proud."

Ryan is joined by brother Lachlan along with former Wallabies skipper James Slipper and Frost as part of an experienced bench.

It includes Luke Reimer, who has shrugged off his concussion to be fit for Friday's match in Canberra.

BRUMBIES (1-15): Harry Vella, Billy Pollard, Sefo Kautai, Darcy Swain (c), Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Charlie Cale, Harrison Goddard, Noah Lolesio, Corey Toole, Tamati Tua, Hudson Creighton, Ollie Sapsford, Tom Wright

RESERVES: Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper, Rhys Van Nek, Nick Frost, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Declan Meredith

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