Mortlock maybe for Canberra farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortlock maybe for Canberra farewell

By Adrian Warren 06/05/2010 04:32:17 PM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock will be given every chance to make a final Canberra appearance for the Brumbies in their vital Super 14 rugby match against the Highlanders on Saturday.

While veteran flanker George Smith will get his capital farewell for the Brumbies on Saturday after missing the last five matches with nerve damage to his shoulder, centre Mortlock was bracketed on the bench with Ed Stubbs.

Mortlock, 32, recently signed up with the new Australian Super franchise Melbourne Rebels for next season.

Former Brumbies and Wallabies captain Mortlock, who has missed their last four fixtures with a back complaint, completed a training session on Thursday.

Coach Andy Friend has given him until Friday to prove his fitness for a Canberra Stadium swansong.

"We will see how Stirling pulls up tomorrow, but we'd love him to be able to join George on the field for their farewell match in front of a big crowd at Canberra Stadium," Brumbies coach Friend said.

Smith, 29, announced earlier in the year he would be finishing up with the Brumbies this season.

There had been fears that Smith, who had not previously missed a Brumbies game through injury since 2005, had played his last match for the Canberra-based franchise.

Smith made his Brumbies Super debut back in 2000 and featured in their two title- winning teams of 2001 and 2004, taking out their players' player award on eight occasions, including the last seven years.

"It's been foreign for me being injured for so long and to finally get back, especially for my last game at Canberra Stadium, will be good," Smith told reporters on Thursday.

He was optimistic his fitness would be sufficient despite the enforced break.

"I don't have the game fitness, but in terms of the fitness around the park and the fitness in my legs, I'll be fine in that regard," Smith said.

"The past six weeks I've been working pretty hard with Marcus Kain, our strength and conditioning coach, on my fitness to ensure it is up there to the standard it needs to be."

Smith returns to the team for a must win match, with the Brumbies entering the penultimate round in sixth spot, two points outside the four.

"The guys have put us in a position to try and make the finals, but we have to be worried about the Highlanders this weekend," Smith said.

"They definitely dominated the Waratahs last weekend. They got a lot of go forward."

Rejoining Smith in the starting lineup is five-eighth Matt Toomua, who missed the last three Brumbies games with a knee injury.

Toomua's return will shift Matt Giteau back to inside centre, while Smith's younger brother Tyron and the unrelated Andrew Smith will each move out one spot to centre and wing respectively.

Brumbies team: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Tyrone Smith, Matt Giteau, Andrew Smith, Matt Toomua, Josh Valentine, Stephen Hoiles (c), George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, Mitchell Chapman, Salesi Ma'afu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Reserves: Huia Edmonds, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Ben Hand, Colby Faingaa, Patrick Phibbs, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Ed Stubbs/Stirling Mortlock.

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