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Brumbies hope the original proves to be the best

Brumbies player Jesse Mogg in action during training at Portsea Oval, Duntroon, Canberra.

Brumbies player Jesse Mogg in action during training at Portsea Oval, Duntroon, Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams

The ACT Brumbies' motto for the new generation is ''back to the future'' and Jake White is putting his faith in tried and tested combinations to get them back on track on Friday night.

The Brumbies will take on the Highlanders with an almost identical starting XV to the one which lifted the club to a superb start to the season.

And while the Brumbies' form has been inconsistent in the past month, returning outside centre Andrew Smith says the back line is primed to find its attacking spark.

The Brumbies have made eight positional and personnel changes to the starting side with rookie Jordan Smiler to make his Super Rugby debut at blindside flanker.

Smith, Matt Toomua and Jesse Mogg,pictured, all return from injuries to bolster the back line.

The Brumbies scored 14 tries in their first four games, but have managed to get across the line just four times in the past three games.

Smith hasn't played since the Brumbies beat the Waratahs and had to leave the South African tour early to recover from a head knock.

He has played just 15 minutes of rugby since the Waratahs game, but is confident the back-line combinations will click immediately.

''Maybe we've gone away from our basic game structure a little bit,'' Smith said of the lack of tries.

''We need to get back to that, a few guys have been out of action and maybe that played a part.''

Mogg was in scintillating form before he injured his shoulder against the Sharks last month.

Toomua was rested against the Southern Kings last weekend to get over niggling injuries and White said the duo's return was perfect timing.

''The backs are the backs we started with at the start of the year and they're the strongest combinations we feel we have,'' White said.

''You can bank on Jesse, he's done well … He's quick and he's got a big boot, I've got no doubt the confidence he brings to the team is going to be needed this week and there's an added threat from the back.''

Smiler will get his chance to impress in the forward pack.

The former Australian and New Zealand sevens player spent last weekend running around in the Canberra club competition for Easts before winning a call-up.

While the Brumbies are trying to get their campaign back on track, the Highlanders are trying to kick-start theirs after a disastrous start to the year.

They've lost all six games despite boasting All Blacks talent throughout their squad.

The lowly-ranked Kings proved last week with their draw against the Brumbies that ladder positions mean little when the game starts.

It's the Brumbies' first clash with a New Zealand opponent this season and a win would be a massive boost heading into a derby with the Reds next weekend.

''It's a different challenge to what we're used to [against the Highlanders],'' White said.

''We learnt a lesson last weekend playing against a team who is second last on the log and ended up getting a draw.

''We have to counter the game style [the Highlanders] want to play … we have to be more accurate in terms of shutting down what Kiwi backs like to do.''


Team to play the Otago Highlanders on Friday: 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.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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