Rugby Union

Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore set to face Reds

CANBERRA: Brumbies captain Stephen Moore is fit to make his long-awaited injury return against the Queensland Reds for their Super Rugby season opener, says head coach Stephen Larkham.

Moore has been sidelined since tearing the ACL in his knee in his first Test captaining the Wallabies, against France in June last year.

It was initially expected Moore would miss the first few rounds of Super Rugby, but with the 32-year-old's recovery tracking "ahead of schedule", Larkham is confident he'll run onto Canberra Stadium on Friday.

However as Moore has been unavailable to play in the Brumbies' trial matches, Larkham will wait until Thursday to reveal whether the 92-Test stalwart will start in the No.2 jersey, or on the bench behind Josh Mann-Rea.

"There is a good chance (he'll play)," Larkham said.

"So far this week everyone has come through unscathed, everyone has passed their rehab program and everyone is available for selection this weekend."

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With the Reds knocking off the Brumbies in their season opener in Canberra last year - the Brumbies' only home game loss in 2014 - Larkham will be keen to have his best team out on the paddock to avoid another early season ambush.

Workhorse lock Sam Carter is another Wallabies player who has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in the Brumbies' trial against the Highlanders in Wagga Wagga one week ago.

Carter says Moore's presence will be a huge boost for a game that the 2014 semi-finalists have had highlighted in their calendar for the entire pre-season.

"We want to get off to a good start this year," Carter said.

"In the last couple of years we've seen that you pretty much need to win all your home games and a few away games to get that home semi.

"That's one of our goals this year."

AAP

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