Brumbies v Force: Teams

At Canberra Stadium, Friday February 24, kick-off 08.40 GMT

Last updated: 22nd February 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

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Brumbies coach Jake White has included six debutants for Friday's opening Super Rugby match with the Western Force in Canberra.

Lock Leon Power, a recruit from New Zealand provincial side Bay of Plenty, will make his first Super Rugby appearance in the starting XV along with winger Jesse Mogg.

Fellow rookies Ruaidhri Murphy, Scott Fardy, Zack Holmes and Joe Tomane are on the bench.

Wallabies front rowers Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander have recovered from injury in time but the Brumbies remain without Australia centre Pat McCabe, who is close to making his return from a shoulder surgery.

The exciting Robbie Coleman, a product of Canberra's St Edmund's College, starts at full-back after playing in the centres last season.

Fijian-born speedster Henry Speight is on the wing while Nic White will play half-back and Matt Toomua, a 2009 Wallabies Spring tourist, is the fly-half while Christian Lealiifano partners the hard-running Andrew Smith in the centres.

It is a fresh look for a Brumbies outfit, who lost 13 of their starting players at the end of last season.

"We've got a very young squad," White said. "That's the nice thing, no-one knows what to expect from us and one of the exciting things is we don't know how good we can become.

"That's what we've been trying to emphasise this week."

Mafi starts

Western Force will open their campaign without full-back Cameron Shepherd, who has been ruled out through injury.

Shepherd featured in last week's trial loss to the Reds, but was restricted to light duties this week after picking up a slight strain in his leg.

His spot in the run-on side has been taken by Alfie Mafi, with former scrum-half James Stannard named at fly-half following the pre-season departure of Willie Ripia.

Former skipper Nathan Sharpe has recovered from his calf complaint and will partner Toby Lynn in the second row, with regular lock Sam Wykes (hamstring) ruled out.

Marquee winger and Fijian international Napolioni Nalaga will make his Force debut, as will Lynn, prop Salesi Ma'afu and outside centre Winston Stanley.

Hooker Elvis Taione, lock Phoenix Battye, flanker Angus Cottrell, flyhalf Ben Seymour and outside back Sam Wara will also make their debuts if they are required off the bench.

Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Jesse Mogg, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Ita Vaea, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: Anthony Hegerty, Ruaidhri Murphy, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Ian Prior, Zack Holmes, Joe Tomane.

Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 James Stannard, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock (capt), 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'au, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: Elvis Taione, Kieran Longbottom, Phoenix Battye, Angus Cottrell, Justin Turner, Ben Seymour, Sam Wara.

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