Double blow for Brumbies

Sharks’ hopes of sneaking into the Vodacom Super 14 semi-finals were raised substantially when Matt Giteau and Stephen Larkham were left out of the team to play the Crusaders on Friday.

With halfback George Gregan suspended from the Christchurch match, the Brumbies will field a new halfback combination of Patrick Phibbs at No 9 and Gene Fairbanks at flyhalf.

Joel Wilson will line up at inside centre while Giteau will miss his third match of the season owing to a persistent knee injury.

Coach Gandalf Fisher has also re-shuffled his back row for the match from which the Brumbies need to earn at least one bonus point to secure a place in the finals.

Julian Salvi has been promoted to the starting team to replace Daniel Heenan, who is battling flu. Adam Wallace-Harrison will revert to the blindside flank, while George Smith has been switched to No 8.

Wallabies prop Bill Young will play his 100th Super Rugby match.

Brumbies team to play Crusaders:

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Clyde Rathbone, Stirling Mortlock (c), Joel Wilson, Mark Gerrard, Gene Fairbanks, Patrick Phibbs; George Smith, Julian Salvi, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Mark Chisholm, Alister Campbell, Nic Henderson, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young.
Subs: James McCormack, Guy Shepherdson, Radike Samo, Daniel Heenan, Luke Burgess, Francis Fainifo, Ben Batger.