ACT Brumbies lock Sam Carter pushing for a return from injury. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
SANZAR might have ruled out national anthems but the ACT Brumbies could be bolstered by 200-centimetre lock Sam Carter for their grand final rematch against the Waikato Chiefs at Canberra Stadium on Anzac Day.
Carter injured his knee in the Brumbies' comprehensive 26-9 victory over the Auckland Blues in round eight and sat out the narrow win over the Queensland Reds before the bye.
Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said if Carter got through this week's training he'd be brought back in for the Anzac Day blockbuster.
Carter isn't the only key Brumby facing an imminent return to action. Powerful No.8 Fotu Auelua (knee) is expected to be back for the trip to Christchurch to face the Canterbury Crusaders on May 3, with Henry Speight (jaw) and Leon Power (knee) likely to be fit for the South Africa trip the following week.
Fisher said a fit Carter would return to the starting line-up, which would force boom youngster Tom Staniforth out of the 23 despite making his debut in the narrow win over the Queensland Reds in the week before the Brumbies' bye.
Scott Fardy would then resume his partnership with Carter in the second row with Jordan Smiler likely to remain at blindside flanker.
Former international winger Clyde Rathbone (hamstring) is also fit again but will be hard-pressed to force his way into a firing backline.
"If Sam gets through the week's training he'll start," Fisher said on Sunday. "If Carts comes back he just resumes his position and then we'll keep the status quo that we've had in the previous few weeks."
Staniforth earned a two-week contract, which is now up, and Carter's return would see the 19-year-old head to the Gold Coast for an Australian under-20s camp at Bond University this week.
Fisher praised Staniforth's debut efforts but said once contracted players returned to fitness they would be used ahead of the part-time pub glassy.
Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa, who's part of the extended player squad, is also part of the Australian under-20s camp starting on Tuesday.
"It may be beneficial for [Staniforth] to go [to the Gold Coast]," Fisher said.
"We've got [Jack] Whetton there who's been strong off the bench the last couple of rounds for us. We'll just wait and see what transpires at training tomorrow.
"If we've got contracted players available then we're more likely to go with contracted players."
While SANZAR's decision to ban the playing of the Australian and New Zealand anthems left many shaking their heads Fisher still expected a "great atmosphere and solemnity" for the day of remembrance.
Regulations state the anthems can be played only before Test matches and refused to bend the rules despite the Brumbies trying to create an Anzac tradition in the nation's capital similar to that of the AFL at the MCG in Melbourne.
But Fisher was confident it wouldn't dampen the festivities on the day. "I'm not fussed. I'm more concerned about preparing for the game," he said.
"I think it'll be a great atmosphere. I think the solemnity of the Anzac Day celebrations will be fantastic. I think it will be a great crowd and I think it will be a great game."
ACT Brumbies v Waikato Chiefs
At Canberra Stadium, 5.40pm
Tickets available from Ticketek