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Chisholm to be most-capped Brumbies lock

By Jim Morton 17/03/2010 02:05:04 PM Comments (0)

Mark Chisholm will become the most-capped Brumbies lock of all time against the Blues on Friday night but it could have been so very different for the Wallabies colossus.

Chisholm plays his 81st Super rugby match at Auckland's Eden Park, eight years after the Queensland Reds advised the 197cm Brisbane product he wasn't required.

As one of the many examples of unwanted Queenslanders showing the folly of past Reds' recruitment decisions, Chisholm has been among the Brumbies' most powerful forwards following in the footsteps of former second row partners David Giffin, Justin Harrison and Dan Vickerman.

"I'm pretty happy with it and it is a sign of how much time and effort I've put in and the loyalty I've shown to the club and the faith the coaches have put in me," the 28-year-old said.

It started with his former Wests club coach David Nucifora who offered Gladstone-born Chisholm a chance to join him in Canberra at the end of 2002.

"I'd got told to look elsewhere by Queensland," he recalled.

"It was at the time Dave Giffin had an option in his contract and the Reds were chasing him quite hard and all the other spots were pretty much full."

In the end the Reds missed out on Giffin, ironically the man Chisholm eclipses as most-capped lock, in a double-edged blow.

Eighty Super appearances and 48 Tests later, Chisholm is liking the look of the star-studded 2010 Brumbies who sit equal fourth with four wins from five matches.

He won't go so far as last year when he declared the Wallabies were on the verge of greatness after an 0-4 Tri-Nations record but doesn't put much stock in concerns over the Matt Giteau-led backline struggling to score tries.

"It's a good start and everyone is very aware we have a long way to go," he said.

"We haven't been scoring many tries but we're getting better every week and by the time we get down to the business end of the season we should be firing.

"We obviously haven't put on 70 points like the Waratahs but it will come."

As expected former Wallabies' skipper Stirling Mortlock (neck) was on Wednesday rested from the Blues clash, with Tyrone Smith taking his place in the centres.

Coach Andy Friend rated Smith's powerful efforts off the bench in the 24-22 win over the Sharks last week as "tremendous".

"With Ty you're going to get a guy who challenges the defensive line and he's always going to give you everything he's got," Friend said.

Three-quarter Andrew Smith and Fijian-born prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa have been named on the bench to make their Super 14 debuts.

Former Wallabies tight-head Guy Shepherdson was dropped to the Brumby Runners side to get some much-needed game time after sitting behind Salesi Ma'afu since round two.

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