You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Returning Cubelli set for Brumbies bench

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

Brumbies halfback Tomas Cubelli looks set to be used off the bench when he returns to Super Rugby, with Joe Powell likely to retain the No. 9 jersey.

The 28-year-old Pumas star returned to rugby after four months on the sidelines with a knee injury in the ACT-based franchise's exhibition match against the Asia-Pacific Dragons in Singapore on Thursday night.

His comeback was understandably overshadowed by that of inspirational teammate Christian Lealiifano, who made his first appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in August.

But like Lealiifano, Cubelli's class shone through - albeit against meagre opposition.

He fired off some slick passes and hit the scoreboard with the final conversion of the 61-14 win.

Assistant coach Dan McKellar, who will take the top job when Stephen Larkham departs at the end of the year, said Cubelli and Powell are competing for the one spot.

"Joe Powell's had a tremendous year (and) it's been on the back of Tomas' unfortunate injury," he said.

While he's leaving it up to Larkham, McKellar can see Cubelli adding punch from the bench.

"Whether he starts off the bench and has that impact role first and foremost, that'll be Stephen's decision but that's probably the likely role that I would see," McKellar said.

Cubelli's injury has enabled Powell's breakout season, with his sterling Super Rugby form for the Australian conference winners earning him his first Wallabies cap earlier in the month.

"He's got opportunity and he's developing," McKellar said.

Cubelli is among a host of off-contract Brumbies yet to be secured for McKellar's first season at the helm.

The incoming coach is remaining tight-lipped about the prospects of extending Cubelli's stay in Canberra beyond this season.

"We're having those discussions at the moment," McKellar said.

"Tomas being an overseas-based player, there's a few little clauses there that you need to work around so there's nothing locked in there."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon