Lealiifano to lead Brumbies in final trial

Christian Lealiifano returns to start as captain and playmaker in a strongest-available Brumbies team for their final Super Rugby trial match against the Chiefs on Wednesday.

Christian Lealiifano (c) has played 117 games for the Brumbies since his debut a decade ago.

Christian Lealiifano (c) has played 117 games for the Brumbies since his debut a decade ago.

Rehabbing from recent knee surgery, David Pocock is the only big name missing in new coach Dan McKellar's team for the clash at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Kawana.

It will be Lealiifano's first start for the Brumbies since his return from battling leukaemia, having previously returned via the bench in last year's Super Rugby quarter-final loss to the Hurricanes and a playing a stint in Europe.

Lealiifano joins a talented backline which includes halfback Joe Powell, Wallabies centres Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani, with Henry Speight and ex-Force star Chance Peni on the wings and Tom Banks at fullback.

Another recruit from the Force, Isi Naisarani, gets another chance at No.8 after impressing in the 50-19 thrashing of the Melbourne Rebels two weeks ago.

Thirteen players have been named on the bench and will all play a part at some stage.

The Brumbies start their Super Rugby season away to the Sunwolves in Tokyo on February 24.

Brumbies team for trial match: Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Chance Peni, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Lachlan McCaffrey, Rob Valetini, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Scott Sio. Res: Robbie Abel, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Blake Blake Enever, Richie Arnold, Tom Cusack, Lolo Fakaosilea, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Lausii Taliauli, Andrew Smith, James Dargaville, Andrew Muirhead.

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