The ACT Brumbies have made a handful of changes to their XV ahead of their brutal first-up Trans-Tasman date with the Crusaders, following a bruising grand final loss on the weekend.
The biggest news is Ryan Lonergan being handed the keys at scrumhalf – replacing the rested Nic White – to partner Noah Lolesio in the halves.
Folau Fainga’a will celebrate Brumbies cap number 50 as the starting hooker, while Irae Simone also brings up appearance number 50 alongside Len Ikitau in the centres.
Solomone Kata makes his season debut on the wing in place of the injured Andy Muirhead, while Nick Frost returns to the back row alongside Henry Stowers due to a shoulder injury ruling out Cadeyrn Neville.
Potential debutant Tom Hooper headlines the names on the new-look bench.
The Crusaders have given Codie Taylor his first game as club captain in his 100th game, alongside a small handful of other changes.
In the two later games, the Rebels have shuffled their back row, going with Josh Kemeny at blindside flanker and Richard Hardwick at openside, with Michael Wells at the back of the scrum. Trevor Hosea remains suspended, so Ross Haylett-Petty will partner Rob Leota at lock for the second game in a row, and winger Lachie Anderson makes his return to the side from among the reserves.
The Force have been boosted by Rob Kearney’s return. Having not played since the first half of the Super Rugby AU season, the Irish fullback was slated to play in Round 10 before being ruled out for a further two weeks. He’ll start in the 15 jersey, while Jake McIntyre has been slotted in at flyhalf for Domingo Miotti, who moves back to the bench.
Meanwhile, the Queensland Reds have opted against asking their first-choice XV to back up from last week’s Super Rugby AU final in Friday’s Trans-Tasman opener, resting a number of key players for their clash with the Highlanders.
Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Fraser McReight have been named on the bench, Tate McDermott is out of the matchday squad entirely, and Harry Wilson and Jordan Petaia have joined Hunter Paisami on the injury list.
There is some good news for the side with Suliasi Vunivalu making his return from a hamstring complaint via the bench, while Seru Uru, Filipo Daugunu and co-captain Liam Wright make for strong replacements for Wilson, Petaia and McReight respectively.
Feao Fotuaika switches to tighthead prop with Tupou on the bench, allowing Dane Zander to come into the starting side at loosehead, and former first XV mainstay Angus Blyth replaces Salakaia-Loto at lock.
Kalani Thomas gets his first start in a Reds jersey in McDermott’s absence, with Moses Sorovi coming onto the pine. Isaac Henry, an unused substitute in last week’s final, will have another chance to make his Super Rugby debut from the reserves on Friday.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, have named a fairly stead side from the one which lost in Round 10 of Super Rugby Aotearoa. They get Pari Part Parkinson back at lock and Hugh Renton at blindside flanker – the latter of whom comes in for Shannon Frizell, who was not selected due to an ongoing police investigation into an alleged assault – while Nehe Milner-Skudder is the casualty from a backline reshuffle.
For Friday night’s late game, the Waratahs welcome back young flyhalf Will Harrison from injury via the bench, and workhorse openside flanker Carlo Tizzano will also start on the pine. Charlie Gamble has been handed the number seven jersey, while Mark Nawaqanitawase comes onto the wing for the injured James Ramm.
Captain Jake Gordon and prop Angus Bell, both of whom inked contract extensions with the Waratahs and Australian rugby on Thursday morning, have both been named to start.
Jason Holland has made a handful of changes to the Hurricanes’ forward pack, promoting Alex Fidow to tighthead prop and Isaia Walker-Leawere to a starting lock gig. Peter Umaga-Jensen also gets the nod at inside centre, while there are four new faces on the bench.
All teams for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman will be announced at least 48 hours before kick-off. Keep this page bookmarked as we update it with all the team info throughout the week.
Friday, 5:05pm (AEST), Forsyth Barr Stadium
1. Ayden Johnstone, 2. Ash Dixon (c), 3. Siate Tokolahi, 4. Pari Pari Parkinson, 5. Josh Dickson, 6. Hugh Renton, 7. Billy Harmon, 8. Kazuki Himeno, 9. Aaron Smith (c), 10. Mitch Hunt, 11. Jona Nareki, 12. Scott Gregory, 13. Michael Collins, 14. Patelesio Tomkinson, 15. Sam Gilbert
Bench: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Ethan De Groot, 18. Josh Hohneck, 19. Bryn Evans, 20. James Lentjes, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Tim O’Malley, 23. Ngatugnane Punivai
1. Dane Zander, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Feao Fotuaika, 4. Ryan Smith, 5. Angus Blyth, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright (c), 8. Seru Uru, 9. Kalani Thomas, 10. James O’Connor (c), 11. Jock Campbell, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Josh Flook, 14. Filipo Daugunu, 15. Bryce Hegarty
Bench: 16. Josh Nasser, 17. Harry Hoopert, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Isaac Henry, 23. Suliasi Vunivalu
Friday, 7:45pm (AEST), SCG
1. Angus Bell, 2. David Porecki, 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 4. Hugh Sinclair, 5. Max Douglas, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Charlie Gamble, 8. Will Harris, 9. Jake Gordon (c), 10. Ben Donaldson, 11. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 12. Lalakai Foketi, 13. Izaia Perese, 14. Alex Newsome, 15. Jack Maddocks
Bench: 16. Joe Cotton, 17. Te Tera Faulkner, 18. Darcy Breen, 19. Jeremy Williams, 20. Carlo Tizzano, 21. Jack Grant, 22. Will Harrison, 23. Tepai Moeroa
1. Xavier Numa, 2. Dane Coles (c), 3. Alex Fidow, 4. James Blackwell, 5. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6. Reed Prinsep, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Devan Flanders, 9. Luke Campbell, 10. Ruben Love, 11. Salesi Rayasi, 12. Peter Umaga-Jensen, 13. Billy Proctor, 14. Julian Savea, 15. Jordie Barrett
Bench: 16. Asafo Aumua, 17. Tevita Mafileo, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Liam Matchell, 20. Brayden Iose, 21. Jonathan Taumateine, 22. Orbyn Leger, 23. Pepesana Patafilo
Saturday, 5:05pm (AEST), Orangetheory Stadium
1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor (c), 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Mitchell Dunshea, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Ethan Blackadder, 7. Tom Sanders, 8. Cullen Grace, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12. David Havili, 13. Braydon Ennor, 14. Manasa Mataele, 15. George Bridge
Bench: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Brendon O’Connor, 21. Ereatara Enari, 22. Fergus Burke, 23. Sevu Reece
1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks
Bench: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Hooper, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen
Saturday, 7:45pm (AEST), AAMI Park
1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Cabous Eloff, 4. Rob Leota, 5. Ross Haylett-Petty, 6. Josh Kemeny, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Michael Wells, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Matt To’omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Campbell Magnay, 13. Stacey Ili, 14. Frank Lomani, 15. Tom Pincus
Bench: 16. James Hanson, 17. Matt Gibbon, 18. Lucio Sordoni, 19. Steve Cummins, 20. Michael Icely, 21. James Tuttle, 22. Carter Gordon, 23. Lachie Anderson
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2. Kurt Eklund, 3. Marcel Renata, 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Tom Robinson (c), 7. Adrian Choat, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. Finlay Christie, 10. Otere Black, 11. AJ Lam, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Bryce Heem, 15. Zarn Sullivan
Bench: 16. Soane Vikena, 17. Ofa Tuungafasi, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Jacob Pierce, 20. Akira Ioane, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Harry Plummer, 23. Mark Telea
Saturday, 9:55pm (AEST), HBF Park
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Santiago Medrano, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Fergus Lee-Warner, 6. Tim Anstee, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Tomás Cubelli, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Jordan Olowofela, 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Kyle Godwin (c), 14. Richard Kahui, 15. Rob Kearney
Bench: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Angus Wagner, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Ollie Callan, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Domingo Miotti, 23. Jake Strachan
1. Aidan Ross, 2. Nathan Harris, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Josh Lord, 5. Tupou Vaa’i, 6. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Lachlan Boshier, 8. Luke Jacobson, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Damian McKenzie, 11. Jonah Lowe, 12. Alex Nankivell, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 15. Chase Tiatia
Bench: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Ollie Norris, 18. Joe Apikotoa, 19. Zane Kapeli, 20. Liam Messam, 21. Xavier Roe, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. Bailyn Sullivan