Bruised Brumbies forced into bulk Super changes

Alex Mitchell |

Darcy Swain will return to the Brumbies’ starting XV, and lead the side, against Moana Pasifika.
Darcy Swain will return to the Brumbies’ starting XV, and lead the side, against Moana Pasifika.

Injury carnage has forced the ACT Brumbies to mix things up ahead of their clash with Moana Pasifika, as they look to continue their recent winning run.

Off the back of consecutive victories, the Brumbies have lost key backline cogs Len Ikitau and Andy Muirhead to knee injuries and prop Blake Schoupp to a shoulder complaint.

Coach Stephen Larkham has opted to continue rotating his players early in the Super Rugby Pacific campaign, pushing halfback Ryan Lonergan and forward Tom Hooper and Nick Frost to the bench.

Hulking lock Darcy Swain returns to the starting side and will captain on Friday night, with Ollie Sapsford, Hudson Creighton and Charlie Cale among other inclusions.

Halfback Harrison Goddard, who’s set to make his first Brumbies start, said he was ready to step into the role left by Lonergan.

“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.”

Muirhead is expected to miss at least a fortnight with his knee injury while Larkham suggested Ikitau’s “slightly worse” knee issue would take at least that long to heal.

Queensland have recalled gun five-eighth Tom Lynagh to their starting side for Saturday night’s trip to Perth.

Tom Lynagh.
Reds No.10 Tom Lynagh launches his side into attack against the Rebels. (Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS)

The Reds will also have 24-cap Wallaby Hunter Paisami back, although it’s in place of the injured Isaac Henry after he ruptured his patella tendon against Melbourne last weekend.

Henry, who was in brilliant form to start the campaign, will miss the entirety of the campaign.

Jordan Petaia also misses the Western Force clash through HIA protocols.

The hosts get halfback Nic White back from his knee injury, forcing Wallaby Issak Fines-Leleiwasa to the pine.

The Rebels have again culled star prop Taniela Tupou from their starting line-up, one of six changes ahead of their difficult trip to Wellington to face the Hurricanes.

Tupou is replaced in the front row by Sam Talakai, who’ll pair with Victorian prop Isaac Kailea in his first start for Melbourne.

Wallabies play-maker Carter Gordon and brother Mason could share a nice moment, with the former named on the Rebels’ bench in his chance to make a club debut.

The NSW Waratahs welcome 19-year-old Max Jorgensen back from his hip complaint for their trip to Fiji.

Jorgensen resumes at fullback, leaving Mark Nawaqanitawase to head to his preferred wing.

Gun prop Angus Bell and hooker Mahe Vailanu also return to the starters.