The Brumbies will roll out a revamped backline on Friday night against the Queensland Reds, with Matt Toomua coming back from injury and Ben Hyne to make his Super Rugby debut.
It’ll be Toomua’s first match for the ACT franchise in two months, having hurt his knee in late April while playing the Highlanders.
He proved his worth and fitness with an impressive return at inside centre last Saturday in the Wallabies’ third Test loss to England.
Fellow Wallaby Joe Tomane won’t play, however, despite overcoming a knee injury.
The winger has been sidelined since April and had been hoping to return to the field this week.
Meanwhile, injuries to superstar flanker David Pocock (fractured eye socket) and Jordan Smiler (knee) have opened the door for Hyne – a former carpenter and development contract player.
The 22-year-old was named to start at No.8, with Jarrad Butler filling in at openside flanker.
Back-rower Scott Fardy said Hyne was an aggressive and tough player, but admitted the Brumbies probably wouldn’t have the presence they usually did with Pocock at the defensive breakdown.
“But that’s up to me and Jarrad to do that job really well,” he said on Wednesday.
“It’s an opportunity for Jarrad to step up and really own that No.7 jersey this week – he’s done that in the past really well and I’m looking forward to him doing it again.”
Joe Powell, a surprise call-up to the Wallabies’ training squad ahead of the series against England, also earned his first start at halfback.
He comes in for Argentine playmaker Tomas Cubelli, who only arrived back in Canberra late on Monday night from national duties.
Cubelli has been named on the bench alongside centre Andrew Smith, who is set to play his first game since round two when he injured his foot.
The Brumbies head into Friday’s clash with just one full training session under the belt following the month-long international break.
But Fardy isn’t worried.
“It’s ample opportunity to get things right,” he said.
“We’re pretty confident with the squad we’ve got in going forward towards the finals.”
The Brumbies lead the Australian conference with three games remaining, but are equal on points with the NSW Waratahs.
Following their clash with the Reds at GIO Stadium, they travel to Auckland to play the Blues then host the Western Force in the final round.
Brumbies: Aidan Toua, Nigel Ah Wong, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, James Dargaville, Christian Lealiifano (capt), Joe Powell, Ben Hyne, Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio. Res: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Michael Wells, Tomas Cubelli, Andrew Smith, Lausii Taliauli.