Huxley named at fullback for Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Huxley named at fullback for Brumbies

08/04/2010 05:25:47 PM Comments (0)

As Julian Huxley prepares for his first Brumbies start in two years, George Smith should discover on Friday whether he can play another Super 14 match.

Smith will undergo nerve conduction tests in Sydney on the shoulder he injured against the Blues in Auckland last month which has clouded the end of his glittering Brumbies career.

The overseas-bound Wallabies flanker is supremely confident he will wear the Brumbies' navy blue again in 2010.

But the nature of the nerve problem means team officials don't possess the same optimism and there are fears he's played the last of his 126 Super rugby matches.

It would be an ironic shame if that were the case as Smith, who embodies resilience, has missed just one match (in 2005) through injury in 11 seasons with the Brumbies.

But the 29-year-old's confidence has been built by the fact he suffered a similar shoulder problem in 2003 playing against Ireland for Australia which sidelined him for three Tests.

"Injuries in the past have always been foreign to me," Smith admitted.

"I've had this injury before and been aware of the time frame (but) in terms of this one it's very much a week to week process of when I can fire it back up.

"I'm very confident that it won't end my Super 14 career and I'll be back on the park to play for the Brumbies, but the time frame I'm just unaware of.

"It can be frustrating but I'm turning a negative into a positive and trying to do as much as possible and use it as a mini pre-season block to try and get into better shape."

Smith had targeted Saturday night's clash with the Cheetahs in Canberra as his return but youngsters Michael Hooper and Colby Faingaa will once again share the ball scavenging duties.

Friday's conduction tests should show the level of activity in the nerve and tell how far away he is from playing.

"It will give me a clear indication how the nerve is," the 110-Test veteran said. "I personally feel the nerve is firing because I feel there's improvement in my shoulder and in my movements and strength of it."

While the Brumbies are crossing their fingers Smith will receive good news, their best news story, Huxley, has been given the fullback role in a new-look backline to play the 12th-placed Cheetahs.

Wallabies incumbent No.15 Adam Ashley-Cooper has been switched to the wing to accommodate Huxley's run-on return after he replaced Francis Fainifo (broken leg) in the 30-23 win over the Chiefs.

"Getting on for 70 minutes was great to put my mind at rest," Huxley said. "It's meant that I can trust my fitness now and relax.

"It's one thing to do this after two years out of footy, for me to now do it every week it's unreal."

Fainifo is one of three Brumbies backs injured from the last-start clash with veteran centre Stirling Mortlock (back disc) and halfback Josh Valentine (hamstring) also unavailable.

Back-up centre Andrew Smith (ankle) was also scratched after a training mishap and Ed Stubbs has been promoted to the bench with James Stannard and Alfi Mafi.

Brumbies: Julian Huxley, Pat McCabe, Tyrone Smith, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Patrick Phibbs; Stephen Hoiles (capt), Michael Hooper, Rocky Elsom, Mitchell Chapman, Ben Hand, Salesi Ma'afu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Res: Huia Edmonds, Guy Shepherdson, Mark Chisholm, Colby Faingaa, James Stannard, Ed Stubbs, Alfi Mafi.

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