Giteau and Elsom to start for Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau and Elsom to start for Brumbies

18/02/2010 10:57:51 AM Comments (0)

Star recruits Matt Giteau and Rocky Elsom will make their first appearances for the Brumbies in 2010 against Super 14 champions the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday night (Sunday AM AEDT).

The pair missed the Brumbies' season-opening 24-15 win over the Western Force due to respective quad strain and chronic hamstring irritation problems but have both recovered to take up their places in the starting team at Loftus Versfeld.

Wallabies playmaker Giteau will play his first match for the Brumbies since leaving to join the Force prior to the 2007 season.

Wallabies captain Elsom, who played with Irish club Leinster last year, will play his first Super rugby match side since representing the Waratahs in the 2008 competition final loss to the Crusaders.

With Elsom at blindside flanker, Mitch Chapman reverts to the bench and Giteau replaces Matt Toomua at flyhalf as he links with his former Western Force halfback Josh Valentine at the scrumbase.

The only other change to the Brumbies starting line-up sees tighthead prop Salesi Maafu replace Guy Shepherdson in the front row.

Coach Andy Friend said the inclusion of Elsom and Giteau was timely.

"The Bulls at Loftus Versfeld presents a significant challenge for any side in the competition," said Friend.

"There's an appreciation within the side that we need to step up from where we finished last week and we've identified where we need to improve against a quality Bulls outfit.

"We certainly need to be more physical in the contest and I think Rocky will help us achieve that."

"Matt will bring further class to our backline.

"It's a tough call for Matty Toomua who's been excellent for us this year and he's formed a great combination with Christian (Lealiifano) at 12 but Gits is a world-class player that you can't leave out of your side."

Brumbies: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Stirling Mortlock, Christian Lealiifano, Francis Fainifo, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine, Stephen Hoiles (capt), George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, Justin Harrison, Salesi Maafu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Res: Huia Edmonds, Guy Shepherdson, Ben Hand, Mitchell Chapman, Patrick Phibbs, Matt Toomua, Tyrone Smith.

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