Rugby Union

Fotu Auelua back for Brumbies, and maybe another old face

The ACT Brumbies will unleash Fotu Auelua for his comeback match against competition leaders the Durban Sharks on Saturday, and the Super Rugby club could welcome back another familiar face within days.

Auelua, who terrorised the Sharks in a record 29-10 for the Brumbies in Durban last year, has been catapulted straight back into the starting team after a long stint on the sidelines with a medial ligament knee injury.

Fotu Auelua, right, is set to make his comeback this weekend against the Sharks.
Fotu Auelua, right, is set to make his comeback this weekend against the Sharks. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

While the Brumbies understand the giant 30-year-old will not have the match-fitness to play the entire 80 minutes, director of rugby Laurie Fisher said Auelua would be unleashed from the start to provide an attacking threat to the Sharks.

Auelua put himself in Wallabies contention with a barnstorming display against the Sharks last season and the Brumbies have patiently timed his return to coincide with three consecutive matches against physically intimidating South African opposition.

"We need to try to bend the line - that's why he's there," Fisher said of Auelua's selection.

"I know he's hungry for a game. 


"I don't know they'll be intimidated, but it's about trying to get a big ball-carrier, some quick release and allowing us to play off the front foot."

The Brumbies are looking to strengthen their forward depth for the rest of the season after back-up hooker Siliva Siliva suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

Watching on at training on Thursday was Anthony Hegarty, a Queanbeyan junior who played all 16 of his Super Rugby games for the Brumbies in 2011, before signing with French club Grenoble.

In Canberra for his wedding later this month, the 26-year-old has told the Brumbies he'd be willing to play out the rest of the Super Rugby season if Grenoble is agreeable to a loan.

Hegarty is due back in France in early June, but the Brumbies have made contact with Grenoble.

The Brumbies used a similar loan arrangement with Japanese club Suntory to recruit Wallabies great George Smith back to the club last year.

"We'll certainly explore whether we can do that,'' Fisher said.

"[Hagarty] knows pretty much everything we do, so that would be handy. He's keen, but in the end it's not my decision, it's not his decision, it'll be Grenoble's.

"We've made some contact already and we'll work in the next few days to see if there's any possibility at all.

"It's only as injury cover. We have Steve Moore and Josh Mann-Rea, so it's a potential easy out for us."

A former Australian Under 20s star, Siliva's Super Rugby career continues to be stalled by injury. The 23-year-old has played just 12 games for the Brumbies in three seasons.

He's also likely to have surgery on a knee injury, which he has been playing on with for the past couple of seasons.

"It's disappointing for him, a young player trying to make his mark in the game," Fisher said. "It's probably six months out .of training and developing. It's another challenge for him "