Brumbies brace for world’s best player to return in New Zealand


Former skipper Sam Carter has been left in Canberra to recover from a cork and prop Scott Sio returns to the No. 1 jersey after starting the season on the bench.

The Brumbies beat the Hurricanes at the end of last year, snapping a two-year losing streak against New zealand opponents. But the Brumbies haven’t won in New Zealand since 2014.

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree said he had no hesitation recalling Barrett for his first game of the season after an extended break in the off-season.

«It’s a big year for him … I think he’s pleased to be back home from all his travels and he’s settled back in,» Plumtree said. «We got some good work into last week and now he’s ready to run the ship.»

The Hurricanes were beaten by the Crusaders 36-22 last weekend after snatching a last-minute win against the NSW Waratahs in round one.

«[The Hurricanes] probably won’t be happy with their performance last week so they’ll come out to prove a point early in the year. They’re obviously a great team and have some dangerous players, which all New Zealand teams do. So we’ll be wary,» said Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell.

Plumtree believes the Brumbies’ remarkable 54-17 thumping of the Chiefs last week was built on momentum generated by their forwards.

He has put the acid on his unheralded tight five to stand up, particularly Liam Blackwell and James Blackwell, who form a youthful lock combination for a third week.

Plumtree said injured lock Sam Lousi (shoulder) will miss most, if not all, of the campaign and confirmed he is chasing the signature of sizeable South African second-rower Andries Ferreira, who missed out on a contract with the Lions.


Friday: Wellington Hurricanes v ACT Brumbies at Palmerston North, 5.35pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports.

Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Faingaa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Pete Samu, 7. David Pocock, 8. Lachlan McCaffrey, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Andy Muirhead, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Chance Peni, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. James Slipper, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Wharenui Hawera, 23. Tom Wright.

Hurricanes: 1. Chris Eves, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Ben May, 4. James Blackwell, 5. Liam Mitchell, 6. Vaea Fifita, 7. Du Plessis Kirifi, 8. Ardie Savea, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Ben Lam, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Matt Proctor, 14. Vince Aso, 15. Chase Tiatia. Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli, 17. Xavier Numia, 18. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20. Reed Prinsep, 21. Richard Judd, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Wes Goosen.




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