The Plus500 Brumbies will welcome nine new faces into the squad for the 2018 Super Rugby season, including the returning David Pocock, as Head Coach Dan McKellar prepares for his first season in charge of the two-time Champions.
Australian international Pocock, who has 65 caps for Australia, will be back in Brumbies colours following his year’s sabbatical and is part of a formidable looking pack that includes eight Wallaby internationals.
Pocock could potentially be joined by fellow Wallabies Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa, Ben Alexander, Josh Mann-Rea, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter and Blake Enever with the strength in depth throughout the forwards evident.
Three of the new signings are up front with the former-Force trio of Mees Erasmus (prop), Richie Arnold (lock), and Isi Naisarani (No.8) joined by Lachlan McCaffrey (flanker) who returns to the Brumbies after a three-year absence playing in Europe.
Rookie hooker Folau Fainga’a joins fresh off an inclusion in the Wallabies train-on squad during the Rugby Championship following impressive form with Canberra Vikings in the National Rugby Championship.
Amongst the backs, the Brumbies faithful will no doubt be delighted to see Christian Lealiifano return to full fitness and with some much-needed playing time under his belt in the Pro14 for Ulster Rugby. The pivot, who is two-points shy of 800 in his career for the ACT-based club, could have a huge impact.
New faces in the back-line include scrumhalf Matt Lucas, an off-season capture from the Waratahs who will push Wallaby youngster Joe Powell for a starting berth, whilst outside backs Chance Peni and James Verity-Amm join from the Force.
International stars Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin and Henry Speight are included whilst the continuing emergence of talented speedsters Tom Banks and Andrew Muirhead will be worth keeping an eye on.
There’s a plenty of youth amongst the squad with Tuggeranong Vikings lock Darcy Swain and promising scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan aiming to push their more established teammates for a place in the matchday squad.
In the Coaching Department, former Assistant McKellar takes over from Stephen Larkham as Head Coach. He is joined by Laurie Fisher as Forwards Coach and Peter Hewat as Backs Coach whilst Peter Ryan (Defence) and Dan Palmer (scrum) continue their important roles within the organisation.
The Brumbies pre-season fixtures kick-off on Saturday 3 February with a clash against the Rebels at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan.
Mees ERASMUS (EPS)*
Folau FAINGA’A (EPS)*
Darcy SWAIN (EPS)
Ryan LONERGAN (EPS)
Andrew MUIRHEAD (EPS)
James VERITY-AMM (EPS) *
Head Coach: Dan McKellar
Forwards Coach: Laurie Fisher
Backs Coach: Peter Hewat
Defence Coach: Peter Ryan
Scrum Coach: Dan Palmer
Team Manager: Bill Swain
Media Manager: Russ Gibbs
Director of Athletic Performance and Innovation: Ben Serpell
Head Physiotherapist / Rehabilitation: Byron Field
Team Doctor: Dr. Stephen Freeman
Performance Consultant: John Pryor
Team Physiotherapist: Dave Wellington
Performance Analyst: Angus Teece
GPS Analyst / PHD Candidate: Carmen Colomer
Strength & Conditioning Coach: John Mitchell
Strength & Conditioning Assistant: Barry Horgan
RUPA Player Development Manager: Robin Duff