Super Rugby Trans Tasman Teams: Brumbies, Blues welcome back Internationals

Thu, 27/05/2021, 04:40 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
It was a huge night in Sydney as Australia launched its Bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027.

The Blues and Brumbies have welcomed back a string of internationals for their must-win clash at Eden Park.

The hosts will be boosted by the return of Hoskins Sotutu, with the 22-year-old rested from their 48-21 win over the Waratahs.

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After making his return last week, coach Leon McDonald has opted to keep club captain Patrick Tuipulotu on the bench, with Gerard Cowley-Tuioti retaining the starting spot for another week.

All Black Ofa Tuungafasi will miss the game to deal with knee and hand injuries, whilst Mark Telea and Jonathan Ruru will make their return via the bench.

As the Blues maintain top spot, coach Leon MacDonald is well-aware of the threats the Brumbies possess as they attempt to lock up a finals spot.

“We know what is at stake here. We have three tough games to finish this competition – and our focus is firmly on Saturday night,” MacDonald said.

“We may have got five points last weekend and did a lot of things well but we were not satisfied with aspects of our performance.

“We know we must improve and keep improving if we want to fulfil our goals.”

Kuenzle crosses for Brumbies

Meanwhile, the Brumbies welcome the return of Nic White as they search for their first win of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

White has not featured for the Brumbies since their Final defeat, nursing a hip flexor injury.

Folau Fainga'a also comes back into the side, with Lachlan Lonergan dropping out of the side.

Captain Allan Alaalatoa will become the 15th player in Brumbies history to reach 100 Super Rugby matches, with coach Dan McKellar praising his impact and influence.

"It's a massive achievement for Allan to have reached 100 Super Rugby matches for the Brumbies," he said in a statement.

"He's someone who embodies what it means to be a Brumby and is an exceptional leader of this group, who I have no doubt will be extra motivated to make sure he gets the result he deserves on Saturday night." 

Flanker Tom Cusack will also bring up 50 games for the club, elevated to the starting side whilst Luke Reimer returns to the bench.

BLUES (1-15): Karl Tu'inukuafe, Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Tom Robinson (c), Dalton Papalii, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Otere Black, AJ Lam, TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane, Bryce Heem, Zarn Sullivan

Reserves: Soane Vikena, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Akira Ioane, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Mark Telea

INs: Nepo Laulala, Jonathan Ruru, Mark Telea, Hoskins Sotutu

OUTs: Ofa Tuungafasi, Blake Gibson, Sam Nock, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

BRUMBIES (1-15): Scott Sio, Connal McInerney, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Nick Frost, Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack, Henry Stowers, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Tom Wright, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Solomone Kata, Tom Banks

Reserves: Folau Fainga'a, Harry Lloyd, Sefo Kautai, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Bayley Kuenzle, Mack Hansen

INs: Folau Fainga'a, Luke Reimer, Sefo Kautai, Nic White

OUTs: Lachlan Lonergan, Rory Scott, Tom Ross, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa

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