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Big changes to Brumbies team to take on Highlanders

Date

Chris Dutton

Jordan Smiler is part of the Brumbies extended player squad program, but will start at blindside flanker against the Highlanders on Friday.

Jordan Smiler is part of the Brumbies extended player squad program, but will start at blindside flanker against the Highlanders on Friday. Photo: Colleen Petch COP

The ACT Brumbies will throw a Super Rugby rookie into battle as they attempt to recapture their best form, naming  Jordan Smiler to make his debut against the Otago Highlanders on Friday night.

With the disappointing draw against the Southern Kings still fresh in their minds, coach Jake White has made sweeping changes to his team to take on the Highlanders.

There are eight positional and personnel changes to the starting XV.

The biggest surprise inclusion is blindside flanker Smiler who was playing club rugby for Easts last weekend and is part of the Brumbies extended player squad program.

Smiler was born in New Zealand and has played international sevens for Australia and New Zealand.

He spent time trying to win a contract with the Waikato Chiefs, but moved to Australia and was given a glimmer of hope by the Brumbies for the 2013 season.

His high work rate earned him a call up to the Brumbies starting side with Scott Fardy out for the next few weeks with a foot injury.

In other changes, Wallaby Stephen Moore returns to the front row after being given a break last week, lock Sam Carter is back in the second row and captain Ben Mowen moves back to No8.

Flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg are making their comebacks.

Toomua missed just one game but Mogg hasn't played since the Brumbies' beat the Durban Sharks in South Africa almost a month ago.

Christian Lealiifano shifts back to inside centre, Andrew Smith replaces Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre and Wallabies No12 Pat McCabe will start on the bench.

The Brumbies are trying to end a run of indifferent form over the past month.

They are the equal ladder leaders in Super Rugby and sit clear at the top of the Australian conference, but they have been well below their best in winning just one of their past three matches.

The Brumbies arrived in Dunedin on Tuesday night and will train on Wednesday and Thursday before taking on the Highlanders.

The match is being played at Forsyth Barr Stadium, which is the venue the ACT government is using as its model for a proposed new rectangular stadium in Canberra.

Forsyth Barr Stadium was built for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, has a clear roof and seats 30,000 fans.

Brumbies

1. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Dan Palmer, 4. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Jordan Smiler, 7. George Smith, 8. Ben Mowen, 9. Nic White, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Joseph Tomane, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Andrew Smith, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Jesse Mogg. Reserves: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Pat McCabe, 22. Tevita Kuridrani.

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