Waratahs winger James Ramm has endorsed the leadership qualities of new captain Alex Newsome after the centre was confirmed as the replacement for injured skipper Jake Gordon.
“Nobby (Newsome) has been a leader the whole year,” Ramm told reporters ahead of NSW’s clash with the Super Rugby AU champion Brumbies on Saturday.
“He’s been around a fair while, he’s well respected by all the boys.
“He’ll have no trouble stepping up there.”
Read on for all the Super Rugby AU round two team news.
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REDS v REBELS, Friday 7.45pm AEDT at Suncorp Stadium
Suliasi Vunivalu is set to make his Super Rugby debut on Friday night despite being due in court in April to face charges of common assault.
The former Melbourne Storm star was named on the Reds bench for the round two clash after being stood down for the season-opening win over the Waratahs.
Vunivalu replaces Ilaisa Droasese on the Reds bench, despite the rookie scoring a try on debut last weekend.
Wallabies star Taniela Tupou has been promoted to the starting lineup, replacing Feao Fotuaika at tighthead prop.
Young backrower Sam Wallis is also in line to make his Reds debut from the bench.
The Reds were too good for the Waratahs in round one.
“You saw some good things last week, but there’s room for improvement and areas we need to work on,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
“The Rebels had the bye in round one and will be looking to open their account, so we’re expecting a tough contest from them.”
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Rebels coach Dave Wessels has named a side that includes a club record nine players who were either born in Melbourne or developed through the Victorian system.
Star recruit Joe Powell will make his Rebels debut and partner captain Matt To’omua in the halves.
Reece Hodge is at inside centre while Tom Pincus starts at fullback as regular skipper Dane Haylett-Petty continues to recover from troubling concussion symptoms.
“There was a real buzz round our team watching the games last week,” Wessels said.
“Both games were high quality and entertaining, Stan did a great job on the opening weekend.
“We’re looking forward to being part of it for the first time on Friday.
“The Reds are playing well and we know we have to be good to beat them.”
REDS (15-1): Jock Campbell, Jordan Petaia, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O’Connor (c), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Seru Eru, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Dane Zander
Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Sam Wallis, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu
REBELS (15-1): Tom Pincus, Lachlan Anderson, Stacey Ili, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua (c), Joe Powell, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Brad Wilkin, Trevor Hosea, Steve Cummins, Vaauli Faamausili, Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff
Reserves: Ed Craig, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Rhys van Nek, Rob Leota, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Glen Vaihu, Frank Lomani
Noah runs beautiful arc
BRUMBIES v WARATAHS, Saturday 7.45pm AEDT at GIO Stadium
Folau Fainga’a’s sore toe is the only thing preventing Brumbies coach Dan McKellar from naming an unchanged side to play NSW on Saturday.
Connal McInerney will start at hooker instead while former Junior Wallabies star Lachlan Lonergan gets a chance from the bench.
“Connal gets his first start and Lachlan Lonergan was an unlucky omission from round one so it’s really pleasing for him after an excellent pre-season,” McKellar said.
“Connal’s always very consistent and you know you’re going to get good set piece, repeat efforts and physicality and he’s very comfortable now at this level.
“Brumbies versus the Waratahs is always a game that’s attracted a big crowd so hopefully the local rugby community gets behind it and others who might not normally go to a rugby game have an opportunity to see some really good rugby in what will be good conditions.”
Meanwhile, Waratahs coach Rob Penney has been forced to make four changes with injury and suspension affecting the squad make-up.
In to the starting lineup come Lachie Swinton, Jack Grant, Tepai Moeroa and Mark Nawaqanitawase while Penney has opted for Alex Newsome to replace the injured Jake Gordon as captain.
“He’s been vice-captain before and he’s a massive leader within the team,” winger James Ramm said of Newsome.
“The amount of talk he gets through on the field and at training is crazy.
“Losing your captain is huge but there’s nothing you can do it about.”
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Mack Hansen, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Caderyn Neville, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Connal McInerney, James Slipper
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Tom Cusack, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
WARATAHS (15-1): Jack Maddocks, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Alex Newsome (c), Tepai Moeroa, James Ramm, Will Harrison, Jack Grant, Jack Dempsey, Carlo Tizzano, Lachie Swinton, Jack Whetton, Sam Caird, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Tom Horton, Angus Bell
Reserves: David Porecki, Te Tera Faulkner, Sio Tatola, Jeremy Williams, Hugh Sinclair, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly
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