The Brumbies have defied Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s request for David Pocock, Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio to sit on the sideline for their clash against the Sunwolves on Sunday afternoon and have named the trio to start.
Cheika asked the Brumbies to rest three of their high-profile stars ahead of the Test against Ireland in the same week the Brumbies are trying to rebuild their crowd support.
But Brumbies coach Dan McKellar refused the request and named his experienced trio in the starting XV, with only one change to the side that defeated the Bulls in Pretoria last Saturday.
After the second smallest crowd in the club’s history, the Brumbies are desperate to hit their target of a strong 15,000 crowd at GIO Stadium.
The Brumbies hooker depth has been obliterated by injury and suspension this year, with the recent suspension of Folau Fainga’a for a headbutting incident in South Africa, leaving inexperienced Connal McInerny to start.
McInerney, who has won two Brumbies caps off the bench and has played a total of 17 minutes, is the only fit hooker at the Brumbies.
A decision on who will provide cover for the hooker position will be made closer to kick-off.
The Brumbies have only ever met the Sunwolves once before in Canberra, winning 66-5 in May 2016 and will be searching for back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly a year whilst the Sunwolves remain on the hunt for their maiden Super Rugby win away from home, having lost their previous 20 away matches.
Super Rugby Round 16 – Brumbies vs Sunwolves at GIO Stadium, Sunday 4:05 pm. Buy your tickets here.
1. Scott Sio 2. Connal McInerney 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Blake Enever 5. Sam Carter 6. Lachlan McCaffrey 7. David Pocock 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Joe Powell 10. Christian Lealiifano 11. Andy Muirhead 12. Kyle Godwin 13. Tevita Kuridrni 14. Henry Speight 15. Tom Banks 16. TBC17. Nic Mayhew 18. Ben Alexander 19. Richie Arnold 20. Tom Cusack 21. Matt Lucas 22. Wharenui Hawera 23. Andrew Smith