Super Rugby: Quade Cooper headlines return in Brumbies v Rebels team news

Quade Cooper’s return to Australian Rugby headlines Brumbies v Rebels team news where he leads a list of five new faces in the Rebels 23-man squad ahead of round one.

Former Brumbies Isi Naisarani at number eight and Robbie Abel as reserve hooker are making their first trip back to Canberra since making the switch to Melbourne.

Rounding out the list of potential debutants led by Captain Dane Haylet-Petty, is Shute Shield player Matt Gibbon and former Reds and Waratahs player Brad Wilkin, with both forwards earning a spot in the reserves.

The Brumbies have the edge experience-wise up front with Allan Alaalatoa and Folau Fainga’a now joined by former Reds skipper James Slipper with Scott Sio starting on the bench after a disrupted pre-season.

Christian Lealiifano, who made a successful return to rugby last year after a battle with leukaemia, will captain the Brumbies side with a number of experienced players.

Wallaby back rower David Pocock is named at flank position despite having doubts on fitness with his neck injury.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper

Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Andy Muirhead

Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner

Subs: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Semisi Tupou

Match date: Friday 15 February
Venue: Gio Stadium Canberra
Kick off Time: 11:45 East African Time

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