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The Roar


Super Rugby teams week 9: Beale back for first time in 1494 days, Reds make 6 changes, Wallaby returns for Brumbies

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17th April, 2024
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Kurtley Beale will play his first Super Rugby match in 1494 days after being rushed straight into the Western Force’s lineup to take on the Crusaders on Saturday night.

His selection comes after being signed earlier this month following an injury to Harry Potter.

He’s not the only big-name Wallaby returning either, with Izack Rodda to make his comeback via the bench as earlier reported by The Roar.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has tweaked his halves for Saturday’s huge clash with the Blues.

Reds coach Les Kiss meanwhile has been forced into several changes following the injuries to Josh Flook and Seru Uru, which comes off the back of the suspensions to co-captain Tate McDermott and Fraser McReight.

Scroll down for all the team news ahead of round nine.


(All times AEST).


Drua vs Hurricanes, 5:05pm AEST

Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw has made wholesale changes to his side for Friday evening’s clash against the Drua in Suva.

Nonetheless, it’s still a dangerous looking team and Laidlaw has stacked his bench.

The one notable omission is fly-half Brett Cameron, with Aidan Morgan returning to the No.10 position.

Josh Moorby moves to fullback with Reuben Love moving back to the bench. That allows tryscoring machine Salesi Rayasi to return on the left wing.


Jordie Barrett, who signed a short-team deal with Leinster earlier in the week, still forms a formidable midfield combination alongside Billy Proctor.

Up front and Laidlaw has given his regular finishers a chance to start, with Tevita Mafileo, James O’Reilly and Pasilio Tosi forming the front-row.

Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes talks to his teammates

Hurricanes star Jordie Barrett remains at inside centre for their tricky clash against the Drua in Fiji. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

In-form front-rowers Asafo Aumua and Xavier Numia will come off the bench.

Newly announced Fiji coach Mick Byrne has been forced into a few changes himself after two suspensions out of their loss to the Rebels.

Wallabies slayer Simione Kuruvoli returns at halfback and he’ll be joined by new fly-half Sikeli Rabitu in the halves.

Kimi Valetini starts at inside centre.


Meli Derenaligi, the side’s regular captain, will provide some leadership in the second half after being named on the bench.

The Hurricanes are currently unbeaten and sit atop the Super Rugby standings on 32 points, with the Drua seventh on 13 points.

Drua (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila, Leone Rotuisolia, Vilive Miramira, Kitione Salawa, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Sikeli Rabitu, Epeli Momo, Kimi Valetini, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese

Reserves: Zuriel Togiatama, Livai Natave, ,Samu Tawake, Mesake Vocevoce, Meli Derenaligi, Peni Matawalu, Michael Naitokani, Junior Ratuva

Hurricanes (1-15): Tevita Mafileo, James O’Reilly, Pasilio Tosi, Ben Grant, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brad Shields (c), Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, TJ Perenara, Aidan Morgan, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Kini Naholo, Josh Moorby

Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia, Siale Lauaki, Caleb Delany, Peter Lakai, Richard Judd, Ruben Love, Bailyn Sullivan


Referee: Paul Williams

Assistant referees: Dan Waenga, Mike Winter

TMO: Richard Kelly

Reds vs Highlanders, 7:35pm

After dropping three straight matches, the Reds aren’t panicking but their coach Kiss has been forced into half-a-dozen changes for their important clash against the Highlanders.

While Tom Lynagh is a straight swap for Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and Alex Hodgman starts at loose-head prop, the rest of the changes are forced ones.


Of note, Cormac Daly will join Ryan Smith in the second-row after Seru Uru’s thumb injury.

John Bryant gets a start in the No.7 jersey in the absence of McReight.

Kelani Thomas earns his first start this season at No.9, with Louis Werchon his back-up.

Former Junior Wallabies back-rower John Bryant will start in the absence of Fraser McReight. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Flook’s shoulder complaint has seen Jordan Petaia shift to outside centre, which sees Mac Grealy return to the wing.

On the bench, Sef Fa’agase makes a timely return to allow Zane Nonggorr the chance to catch his breath after a busy two months.

Joe Brial provides some back-row cover, while former Junior Wallaby Tim Ryan comes onto the bench. Lawson Creighton keeps his spot on the bench.


The Reds take on an equally desperate Highlanders side, who have struggled in recent weeks.

Clarke Dermody has responded by dropping Folau Fakatawa to the bench, with fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens also on the reserves.

James Arscott and Cameron Millar form the brand-new halves combination, while Connor Garden-Bachop has been promoted to start at fullback.

All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot will start.

Reds (1-15): Alex Hodgman, Matt Faessler, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Cormac Daly, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright (c), John Bryant, Harry Wilson, Kalani Thomas, Tom Lynagh, Mac Grealy, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Suli Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

Reserves: Josh Nasser, Peni Ravai, Sef Fa’agase, Angus Blyth, Joe Brial, Louis Werchon, Lawson Creighton, Tim Ryan

Highlanders (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Ricky Jackson, Saula Ma’u, Hugo Pummer, Pari Pari Parkinson, Oliver Haig, Sean Withy, Billy Harmon (c), James Arscott, Cameron Millar, Jona Nareki, Sam Gilbert, Tanielu Tele’a, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Connor Garden-Bachop


Reserves: Henry Bell, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Rohan Wingham, Will Stodart, Nikora Broughton, Folau Fakatava, Ajay Faleafaga, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Referee: Jordan Way

Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Damon Murphy

TMO: Brett Cronan


Blues vs Brumbies


The Blues are still without their first-choice halves combination for Saturday’s second-v-third encounter with the Brumbies at Eden Park.

All Blacks Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta remain sidelined by groin and shoulder injuries respectively, which means back-to-back starts for Taufa Funaki and Harry Plummer in the playmaking positions.

Captain and lock Patrick Tuipulotu is back after missing their win over the Western Force with concussion, however, as is Bryce Heem at inside centre.

All Blacks star Mark Telea is also back on the wing.

Ryan Lonergan returns to the Brumbies to wear the No.9 jersey against the Blues. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has named a settled side, with Ryan Lonergan returning at halfback.

He’s one of a couple of changes to the team, with the physical presence of Jahrome Brown back at openside flanker.


His return allows Larkham to stack the Brumbies’ bench, with Wallaby Blake Schoupp back via the bench.

He joins Nick Frost, Tom Hooper and Luke Reimer on a strong Brumbies bench.

Blues (1-15): Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Marcel Renata, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Laghlan McWhannell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Taufa Funaki, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, Mark Tele’a, Cole Forbes
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Sam Darry, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, Lucas Cashmore, AJ Lam

Brumbies (1-15): James Slipper, Billy Pollard, Sefo Kautai, Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Charlie Cale, Ryan Lonergan (c), Noah Lolesio, Corey Toole, Tamati Tua, Hudson Creighton, Ollie Sapsford, Tom Wright

Reserves: Connal McInerney, Blake Schoupp, Rhys Van Nek, Nick Frost, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni,

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Assistant referees: Stu Curran, Jackson Henshaw


TMO: Glenn Newman

Force vs Crusaders, 7:35pm

Simon Cron at last has some of his key men back.

Not only will Beale make a spectacular return at fullback, key tight-head prop Santiago Medrano returns from concussion.

His return comes right on time, with the Crusaders to try and go after the Force up front.

Will Harris starts in the back-row alongside Carlo Tizzano and Reed Prinsep.

On the bench, experienced Wallabies lock Izack Rodda will play his first minutes of the year.


Kurtley Beale will play his first match for the Force on Saturday night. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

He’s joined on the bench by former captain Michael Wells.

The Force are still without first-year captain Jeremy Williams.

Cron’s side will take on an equally hungry Crusaders side, who find themselves in the unusual position of second last on the standings.

Rob Penney has responded after last week’s golden point heartbreaking loss to the Waratahs by making some key changes to his front-row.

After coming off the bench last week, All Blacks Joe Moody and Owen Franks will start with Brodie McAlister picked ahead of George Bell.


Ryan Crotty provides plenty of experience off the bench.

Force (1-15): Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Sam Carter, Tom Franklin, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White (c), Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Kurtley Beale

Reserves: Ben Funnell, Marley Pearce, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Izack Rodda, Michael Wells, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, Henry O’Donnell

Crusaders (1-15): Joe Moody, Brodie McAlister, Owen Franks, Quinten Strange, Jamie Hannah, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie (c), Christian Lio-Willie, Mitch Drummond, Riley Hohepa, Macca Springer, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki

Reserves: George Bell, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Dominic Gardiner, Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham, Rivez Reihana, Ryan Crotty

Referee: Reuben Keane

Assistant referees: Graham Cooper, Jeremy Markey


TMO: Kyle Burnet