Brumbies pick 96-Test prop James Slipper

Eamonn Tiernan
James Slipper replaces Scott Sio at loosehead prop

The unbeaten Brumbies have made three changes as they look to top the Super Rugby ladder and equal their second-best winning streak at home.

Wallabies veteran James Slipper replaces Scott Sio at loosehead prop, Will Miller earns his first start for sidelined No. 7 Tom Cusack (concussion) and lock Darcy Swain returns from injury.

Flanker Lachlan McCaffrey, prop Tom Ross and dynamic outside back Len Ikitau have been named on the bench for their potential first games of the season.

The Brumbies are chasing an 11th straight win at Canberra Stadium when they host the Highlanders on Saturday night.

Assistant coach Peter Hewat said he was "expecting the unexpected" from the Highlanders who have lost their one game this season against the Sharks.

"They're difficult to read really. A Tony Brown-coached team always has something up their sleeve," Hewat said.

"Turnover attack, they like to kick a lot, but we've done a lot of work on that this week so hopefully we can work them out.

"They're going to come to Canberra pretty pumped up and ready to rock and roll."

The Brumbies have scored the most tries (10) of any team in the opening two rounds and are the only Australian side to post a win.

They can finish the weekend on top of the table if results fall their way but the Brumbies have lost four straight to the Highlanders.

"We've had two good results in terms of two wins but we know we've still got a lot of improvement in our game," Hewat said.

"We've played some nice unstructured footy which has been good but we know we've got a lot of improvement with our attack. We haven't hit what we want to hit yet."

The Brumbies have won 10 straight at home but Canberra crowds are down 17 per cent, averaging just 7267 fans after two rounds .

Hewat hopes their first Saturday game and decent weather will bring the faithful back but conceded rugby currently faced a perception problem.

"We're taking a bit of a hit at the moment. That's half the battle isn't it, how it's perceived," Hewat said.

"We've got to get out there and continue to work with our community and reconnect and try and get people to our games."

Brumbies: Tom Banks, Solomone Kata, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Pete Samu, Will Miller, Murray Douglas, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Faingaa, James Slipper. Res: Connal McInerney, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Cadeyrn Neville, Lachlan McCaffrey, Ryan Lonergan, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead.