Rathbone to face familiar foes

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Rathbone to face familiar foes

Clyde Rathbone has been included in the Brumbies’ starting XV for their clash against the Sharks in Durban this weekend.

Rathbone, who made his Super 14 debut for the Sharks against the Crusaders back in 2002, has forced his way back into the run-on team with Alfi Mafi his back-up, while Francis Fainifo has fallen from a first-choice winger to being left out of the squad completely.

Brumbies coach Andy Friend has axed a total of three players from his squad that lost to the Lions last weekend, while Stirling Mortock has been given time to prove his fitness.

Sitaleki Timani, Nic Henderson and Fainifo have all been dropped from the squad and will be replaced by Mitchell Chapman, Salesi Ma’afu and Mafi.

Chapman, who hasn’t played a Super rugby match all season, has been promoted straight into the starting XV at blindside flanker. He replaces Peter Kimlin, who moves to the bench.

Friend has Mortlock at outside centre, but the Wallabies skipper is not expected to play.

Mortlock is struggling to overcome two corked thighs which he copped during the 25-17 loss to the Lions. He will be given until Friday to prove his fitness but it looks likely he will sit out the match.

Gene Fairbanks, who hasn’t played a Super rugby match since round one last year, is on standby. Should Mortlock fail a fitness test, Fairbanks would come into the starting team at inside centre, pushing Tyrone Smith to outside centre.

Brumbies - Mark Gerrard, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock, Tyrone Smith, Clyde Rathbone, Christian Lealiifano, Joshua Holmes, Julian Salvi, George Smith (c), Mitchell Chapman, Mark Chisholm, Ben Hand, Guy Shepherdson, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander.
Subs: Huia Edmonds, Salesi Maafu, Shawn Mackay, Peter Kimlin, Patrick Phibbs, Gene Fairbanks, Alfi Mafi, Matt Toomua (one to be omitted).

Hynes out of Chiefs clash

Wallabies winger Peter Hynes has been booked in for knee surgery, forcing him out of the Reds’ Super 14 clash against the Chiefs this Saturday.

Hynes pulled up in training at Ballymore and will have an arthroscope on his knee to determine the extent of the injury.

Reds coach Phil Mooney said the winger’s injury appeared to be a bone fragment that can be quickly removed, allowing him to return to action within seven to 10 days.

Rugby league recruit Rod Davies will be up against the dangerous Leila Masaga this weekend when he makes his Super 14 debut on the left wing.

Davies got the nod with Brando Va’aulu straining his hamstring this week, while Charlie Fetoai has been promoted to the bench.

“It’s a great opportunity for Rod and we’ll be looking to him to bring the same energy and enthusiasm to the side that other young players have done when given the chance to step up,” said Mooney.

Reds – Mark McLinden, Blair Connor, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Rod Davies, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill (c), Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley.
Subs: Saia Faingaa, Jack Kennedy, Scott Higginbotham, Poutasi Luafutu, Brendan McKibbin, Anthony Faingaa, Charlie Fetoai.