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

Huxley named at fullback for Brumbies

11/05/2010 06:57:24 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper has been shunted to the wing to make way for Julian Huxley in the Brumbies' Super 14 "quarter-final" against the Crusaders.

Coach Andy Friend cited backline balance for the change as Huxley returns from two weeks out through injury he also indicated Huxley's kick game was a factor with wet conditions forecast in Christchurch on Friday night.

The hard-running and elusive Ashley-Cooper has been in fine form this season and has previously indicated he wants to cement the fullback role where he's favoured by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after frequently being used as a utility in recent seasons.

He moves to the left wing with Andrew Smith dropping back to the bench in the only backline change while the forward pack is unchanged from the team which overpowered the Highlanders last weekend to boost their semi-finals hopes alive.

"Adam's been very impressive for us at fullback this season but in terms of the overall balance of the backline, it was believed this was our best option," said Friend.

"Julian brings a great deal of experience to side and has a excellent kicking game which could be of benefit."

The Brumbies are in fourth spot going into the final round battle for semi-final berths but must win against the sixth-placed Crusaders who are only one point behind.

However they are chasing their first win at Christchurch's AMI Stadium since their 17-12 victory in 2000.

"This is a big game for both sides and is effectively a quarter-final with the loser finishing up for 2010," said Friend.

"In terms of challenges, they don't come much bigger than tackling the Crusaders in Christchurch but it's the job we have to get done if we're going to stay in this competition.

"Our performances have been building over the past few matches and we've put ourselves in a good position for the weekend.

"We were strong against the Reds and continued that against an in-form Highlanders side last week, and now we need to find the next gear in Christchurch."

Brumbies: Julian Huxley, Pat McCabe, Tyrone Smith, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Josh Valentine, Stephen Hoiles (capt), George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, Mitchell Chapman, Salesi Maafu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Res: Huia Edmonds, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Ben Hand, Colby Faingaa, Patrick Phibbs, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Andrew Smith.

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