SYDNEY : ACT Brumbies hopes of making it four successive wins against New Zealand opponents in Super Rugby suffered a blow on Wednesday when Rob Valentini and Noah Lolesio were ruled out of Friday’s clash against the Canterbury Crusaders.
Two of the Australian team’s best performers in the 38-28 win over the Waikato Chiefs last week, loose forward Valentini picked up a hamstring problem that will sideline him for a couple of weeks and flyhalf Lolesio suffered a head knock.
“It happens, we play a contact sport and it’s unfortunate but you’ve just got to get on with it, you can’t drop your bottom lip,” coach Dan McKellar told reporters.
“We feel like the squad across the board is well-equipped to handle setbacks like this. There’ll be zero excuses from us Friday night, we’re turning up to win.”
Tom Hooper comes into the back row in place of Valentini, while Rodney Iona will start at flyhalf opposite All Blacks number 10 Richie Mo’unga at Canberra Stadium.
The Crusaders, winners of 10 Super Rugby titles and both editions of Super Rugby Aotearoa over the last couple of years, have skipper Scott Barrett back from suspension as they look to leapfrog the Brumbies into second place in the standings.