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Brumbies confident of first-up Super upset

NZN 23/02/2017 Matt Coughlan

While the Brumbies head to Christchurch for their round one clash with the Crusaders as underdogs, the new-look side are confident of starting their Super Rugby season with an upset.

The Crusaders are favoured to win just their second season-opener since 2010 with the Brumbies squad losing more than 700 games of experience at the end of last season.

The Brumbies will hope the Crusaders continue their sluggish starts as they face a potentially tough season without Stephen Moore, David Pocock, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano.

Aidan Toua, Tevita Kuridrani, Scott Fardy and Sam Carter are the only players who remain in the starting 15 from last year's qualifying final loss to the Highlanders.

Former Western Force flanker Chris Alcock, who is one of four players set to make their first start for the Brumbies, says after a pre-season of working on new combinations, the side are focused on Saturday night's match.

"We want to win every game and we're going out there to win every game so that's all we're focused on," Alcock told AAP from Christchurch on Friday.

"The boys are quite confident, we're focused and we just need to focus on ourselves."

While Lealiifano has joined the side in New Zealand, providing inspiration as he continues his recovery from leukaemia, his absence along with an injury to Pumas halfback Tomas Cubelli has forced coach Stephen Larkham to go with the untried halves pairing of Wharenui Hawera and Joe Powell.

"Pretty much our whole pre-season has been about is just trying to figure out the new combinations," Alcock said.

"Obviously things won't be perfect in round one but I feel that we've come a long way in the last 10 weeks or so.

"Our focus is just working on what we can control and trying to improve as a team."

Alcock's fellow Force recruit and Wallabies centre Kyle Godwin will also be making his first start for the Brumbies.

"It's always exciting coming to a new team," Alcock said.

"You've got to work out new combinations with all the players around you.

"The season's here now and I have to prove myself to my team and all the supporters."

Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg will play his 100th Super Rugby match, his first under new coach Scott Robertson in a run-on side, which includes eight All Blacks with two more starting on the bench.

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