Kuridrani back for Brumbies

The Brumbies have been boosted by the return of Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani from injury as they attempt to get their Super Rugby campaign back on track against the Highlanders on Friday.

The hard-running Kuridrani hasn’t played since injuring his shoulder in 28-13 loss to the NSW Waratahs on March 22.

In his absence, the Australian conference leaders have lost two of three matches to give up much of their ladder advantage.

His return comes amid a host of changes made by coach Stephen Larkham for the home match against the high-flying Highlanders.

After overcoming injury, Jesse Mogg gets his first game of the Brumbies season at fullback with Robbie Coleman switching to inside centre, while Henry Speight shifts back from centre to the right wing.

The abrasive Ita Vaea replaces Jarrad Butler at No.8 while prop twins Ruan and JP Smith will become the first brothers to start for the Brumbies since George and Tyrone Smith in 2010.

Wallaby lock Sam Carter will miss the match as he attends the funeral of friend Nicholas Tooth, who died after suffering a head knock while playing for the Quirindi Lions last Saturday.

His promising lock partner Rory Arnold drops to the bench for a rest, meaning Blake Enever and Jordan Smiler unite for the first time at lock.

Wallabies prop Ben Alexander also gets a rest on the bench as Larkham manages the workload of his forwards.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made some big changes to his side that beat the Blues last Friday night.

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith, centre Malakai Fekitoa, and fullback Ben Smith have all been rested as part of All Blacks player management ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Robbie Coleman, Joe Tomane; Christian Lealiifano, Michael Dowsett; Ita Vaea, David Pocock, Scott Fardy; Blake Enever, Jordan Smiler; Ruan Smith, Stephen Moore (C), JP Smith. Reserves: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ben Alexander, Rory Arnold, Jarrad Butler, Joe Powell, Rodney Iona, Nigel Ah Wong.

Highlanders: Trent Renata; Waisake Naholo, Richard Buckman, Shaun Treeby, Patrick Osbourne; Lima Sopoaga, Fumiaki Tanaka; Nasi Manu (C), James Lentjes, Elliot Dixon; Joe Wheeler, Tom Franklin; Pingi Talaapitaga, Liam Coltman, Kane Hames. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Brendon Edmonds, Josh Hohneck, Joe Latta, Gareth Evans, Dan Pryor, Josh Renton, Jason Emery.

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