All four Super Rugby AU teams in action this weekend have made changes to their line-ups for Round 3 of the competition.
Tim Sampson has made the bold decision to move Force captain Ian Prior to the bench to allow Argentinian international Tomas Cubelli into the run-on XV, as well as dropping Jono Lance out of the match-day 23 entirely.
Lance is replaced at flyhalf by Jake McIntyre, while Domingo Miotti comes joins the reserves.
The Force’s Friday-night opponents, the Waratahs, have made just the one change to their squad, with Wallabies prop Angus Bell missing out on selection. He’s been replaced by Chris Talakai, while Tetera Faulkner and Dave Porecki have both been promoted to the starting front row. Tom Horton moves back to the bench.
In the Saturday game, the Brumbies have exchanged one international prop for another, with Scott Sio returning from a back injury to come straight into the starting XV in place of James Slipper. Slipper is out with a knee complaint.
The veteran prop is one of three players missing from the squad which thrashed the Waratahs last week, along with bench lock Nick Frost and backup halfback/winger Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa. They’ve been replaced on the pine by James Tucker and Solomone Kata respectively.
The Rebels’ horror casualty ward has only grown larger after last week’s agonising loss to the Reds. Jordan Uelese is out for three weeks with a broken hand, and fellow front-rower Rhys van Nek is out for around three months with a serious hamstring injury. They join Dane Haylett-Petty, Cameron Orr, Isi Naisarani, Campbell Magnay, Matt Gibbon, Emosi Tuqiri and Jeral Skelton in the list of unavailable Rebels.
There is some good news for the Melbourne outfit, though, with Argentinian signing Lucio Sordoni named for his first appearance for the club on the bench and James Hanson to make his return for the side in the starting side at hooker.
Ross Haylett-Petty has also been added to the side in the second row, while Dave Wessels will wait until closer to kick-off to choosing which two of James Tuttle, Brad Wilkin and Tom Nowlan will get the nod on the bench.
Friday, 7:45pm (AEDT), Bankwest Stadium
(1-15): Tetera Faulkner, Dave Porecki, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Sam Caird, Hugh Sinclair, Lachlan Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Dempsey, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, James Ramm, Tepai Moeroa, Alex Newsome (c), Jack Maddocks, Mark Nawaqanitawase
Bench: Tom Horton, Sio Tatola, Chris Talakai, Jack Whetton, Jeremy Williams, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly
In: Chris Talakai
Out: Angus Bell
(1-15): Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu’u, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Thrush, Fergus Lee-Warner, Tim Anstee, Kane Koteka, Brynard Stander (c), Tomas Cubelli, Jake McIntyre, Toni Pulu, Richard Kahui, Tevita Kuridrani, Byron Ralston, Rob Kearney
Bench: Andrew Ready, Angus Wagner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Tomas Lezana, Ian Prior, Domingo Miotti, Marcel Brache
In: Domingo Miotti, Toni Pulu
Out: Jono Lance, Kyle Godwin
Saturday, 7:45pm (AEDT), GIO Stadium
(1-15): Scott Sio, Connal McInerney, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Pete Samu, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Mack Hansen, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Banks
Bench: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, James Tucker, Tom Cusack, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Solomone Kata
In: Scott Sio, James Tucker, Solomone Kata
Out: James Slipper, Nick Frost, Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa
(1-15): Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Pone Faamausili, Ross Haylett-Petty, Trevor Hosea, Josh Kemeny, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Matt To’omua (c), Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Stacey Ili, Lachlan Anderson, Tom Pincus
Bench: Ed Craig, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Lucio Sordoni, Steve Cummins, Rob Leota, James Tuttle/Brad Wilkin/Tom Nowlan (TBC), Frank Lomani, Glen Vaihu
In: James Hanson, Ross Haylett-Petty, Lucio Sordoni
Out: Jordan Uelese, Rhy van Nek