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Same Brumbies team for Sharks rugby clash

NZN 2/03/2017 Matt Coughlan

Encouraging signs in the Brumbies' first-round defeat have convinced coach Stephen Larkham to select an unchanged Super Rugby line-up to face the Sharks.

The Brumbies will attempt to open their account on Saturday night in their first home match for the year at GIO Stadium after losing 17-13 to the Crusaders in their season opener.

Larkham said while the loss was bitterly disappointing, the players deserved to hold their places after an outstanding defensive showing in Christchurch.

"We certainly appreciated the effort that was out there on the field so we gave these guys another chance to try and find combination," Larkham said.

Nic Mayhew retains the No.1 jersey with Scott Sio a week-by-week proposition as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Young halfback Joe Powell's defence impressed Larkham as he looks to cement himself in the playmaker's role after injury to Tomas Cubelli.

"We kicked a lot away in that first half and just circumstances in the second half meant that we didn't get a lot of ball but, certainly defensively, he was outstanding," Larkham said.

"He covered a number of line breaks and he got through more than 75 minutes out there."

Five-eighth Wharenui Hawera retains his spot after a mixed debut with his errant kicking in general play detracting from his accuracy in front of goal.

"I think there were a few tactical fixes that we made from the weekend in terms of when we kicked and how we kicked," Larkham said.

Flanker Chris Alcock will aim to build on his strong debut for the Brumbies, with Jordan Smiler and Scott Fardy again joining him in the back row.

Winger Tevita Kuridrani hopes to improve on a threatening start to the season and is expecting a physical Sharks outfit.

"Hopefully, we can be tight on our defence - that's one big thing this weekend," Kuridrani said.

Brumbies: Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, James Dargaville, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Jordan Smiler, Chris Alcock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (capt), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Nic Mayhew. Res: Robbie Abel, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Tom Staniforth, Lolo Fakaosilea, De Wet Roos, Andrew Smith, Isaac Thompson.

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