Waratahs winger James Ramm endorsed the leadership qualities of new captain Alex Newsome after the cross was confirmed to replace injured skipper Jake Gordon.
“Nobby (Newsome) has been a leader all year,” Ramm told reporters ahead of NSW’s clash with AU Super Rugby champion Brumbies on Saturday.
“He’s been around for quite a while, he’s very well respected by all the boys.
“He’ll have no trouble getting up there.”
Read on for all the news from the Super Rugby AU second round team.
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REDS v REBELS, Friday 7:45 p.m. AEDT at Suncorp Stadium
Suliasi Vunivalu is set to make his Super Rugby debut on Friday night although he is due in court in April to face common assault charges.
The former Melbourne Storm star was named to the Reds bench for the second round after being pulled out for the season opener over the Waratahs.
Vunivalu replaces Ilaisa Droasese on the Reds bench, despite the rookie scoring a try on his debut last weekend.
Wallabies star Taniela Tupou has been promoted in the starting lineup, replacing Feao Fotuaika at the header.
Young backrower Sam Wallis is also in line to make his Reds debut from the bench.
The Reds were too good for the Waratahs in the first round.
“You saw some good things last week, but there is room for improvement and areas we need to work on,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
“The Rebels got the bye in the first round and will be looking to open their account, so we expect some tough competition from them.”
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Rebels coach Dave Wessels has named a squad that includes a nine-player club born in Melbourne or developed by the Victorian system.
All-star rookie Joe Powell will make his rebel debut and partner captain Matt To’omua in halftime.
Reece Hodge is inside center while Tom Pincus starts at the back as regular skipper Dane Haylett-Petty continues to recover from disturbing concussion symptoms.
“There was a real buzz around our team watching the games last week,” said Wessels.
“Both games were high quality and entertaining, Stan did a great job on opening weekend.
“We can’t wait to be part of it for the first time on Friday.
“The Reds are playing well and we know we have to be good to beat them.”
REDS (15-1): Jock Campbell, Jordan Petaia, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O’Connor (c), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Seru Eru, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Dane Pike perch
Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Sam Wallis, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu
REBELS (15-1): Tom Pincus, Lachlan Anderson, Stacey Ili, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua (c), Joe Powell, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Brad Wilkin, Trevor Hosea, Steve Cummins, Vaauli Faamausili, Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff
Reserves: Ed Craig, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Rhys van Nek, Rob Leota, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Glen Vaihu, Frank Lomani
Noah runs a beautiful bow
BRUMBIES v WARATAHS, Saturday 7:45 p.m. AEDT at GIO Stadium
Folau Fainga’a’s sore toe is the only thing stopping Brumbies coach Dan McKellar from naming an unchanged squad to play against NSW on Saturday.
Connal McInerney will start in the hooker spot while former Junior Wallabies star Lachlan Lonergan has a chance on the bench.
“Connal is making his first start and Lachlan Lonergan was an unlucky omission from the first round so it’s really nice for him after a great preseason,” said McKellar.
“Connal is still very consistent and you know you’re going to get a good stop, repetitive effort and physicality and he’s very comfortable now at that level.
“Brumbies vs. Waratahs is always a game that has drawn a big crowd so hopefully the local rugby community will support it and others who might not normally go to a rugby game will have a chance to see very good rugby in what will be good conditions. “
Meanwhile, Waratahs coach Rob Penney was forced to make four changes with injury and suspension affecting squad roster.
In the starting lineup come Lachie Swinton, Jack Grant, Tepai Moeroa and Mark Nawaqanitawase while Penney opted for Alex Newsome to replace injured Jake Gordon as captain.
“He’s been a vice-captain before and he’s a massive leader within the team,” winger James Ramm said of Newsome.
“The number of conversations he’s had on the pitch and in training is crazy.
“Losing your captain is huge, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Mack Hansen, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Caderyn Neville, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Connal McInerney, James Slipper
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Tom Cusack, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
WARATAHS (15-1): Jack Maddocks, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Alex Newsome (c), Tepai Moeroa, James Ramm, Will Harrison, Jack Grant, Jack Dempsey, Carlo Tizzano, Lachie Swinton, Jack Whetton, Sam Caird, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Tom Horton, Angus Bell
Reserves: David Porecki, Te Tera Faulkner, Sio Tatola, Jeremy Williams, Hugh Sinclair, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly
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