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Lonergan to lead Australia A against Samoa in Pacific Nations opener

Thu, 30/06/2022, 7:58 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Ryan Lonergan aces it from 55 metres out on the angle

Brumbies scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan will lead Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup opener against Samoa in Suva on July 2

Lonergan was elevated to captain during the Brumbies' round six win over Western Force and is joined by vice-captains Fraser McReight and Reece Hodge.

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“I’ve been extremely impressed with Ryan’s (Lonergan) ability to lead his Brumbies side over their successful Super Rugby Pacific campaign," head coach Jason Gilmore said in a statement.

“He’s certainly the right man for the job and pairing him in front of two already proven leaders in McReight and Hodge as vice captains build us a pretty inspiring leadership group."

The Brumbies scrumhalf is joined by Waratahs breakout star Tane Edmed in the halves as Australia A return to the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time since 2008.

Hodge slots into fullback, joined by standout wingers Mark Nawaqanitawase and Jock Campbell, with Lalakai Foketi and Hamish Stewart completing the backline.

Meanwhile, McReight headlines a strong forward pack as Sevens standout Tim Anstee and former Junior Wallabies teammate Will Harris slot into the back-row.

They are joined by Fijian-born Seru Uru and Reds standout Ryan Smith, with Matt Gibbon, Billy Pollard and Tom Robertson completing the tight five.

Australia A will make its return as part of the Pacific Nations Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Australia A last featured in the Pacific Nations Cup in 2008. Photo: Getty Images

Force captain and Wallaby Feleti Kaitu'u has been named as part of the reserves alongside Harry Hoopert and recent call-up Archer Holz.

Holz is joined by fellow late additions Hugh Sinclair, James Tuttle and Hudson Creighton.

“We’ve had to make some extremely tough decisions leading up to game one with many players missing out on a jersey that certainly deserves it," Gilmore added.

“It just shows the extraordinary level of depth we currently have in Australian Rugby and I think this competition will only yield successful results for the program.

“I think there are a lot of players who have a point to prove in this side and it’s going to be interesting to see how they play when they get the opportunity this Saturday.”

The game will be shown live and ad-free on Stan Sport from 11:00 am.

Australia A side to face Samoa

1.Matt Gibbon – Melbourne Rebels

2.Billy Pollard - Brumbies

3.Tom Robertson – Western Force

4.Seru Uru – Queensland Reds

5.Ryan Smith – Queensland Reds

6.Tim Anstee – Western Force

7.Fraser McReight (VC) – Queensland Reds

8.Will Harris -  NSW Waratahs

9.Ryan Lonergan (C) - Brumbies

10.Tane Edmed – NSW Waratahs

11.Jock Campbell – Queensland Reds

12.Hamish Stewart – Queensland Reds

13.Lalakai Foketi – NSW Waratahs

14.Mark Nawaqanitawase – NSW Waratahs

15.Reece Hodge (VC) – Melbourne Rebels

Reserves

16.Feliti Kaitu’u – Western Force

17.Harry Hoopert – Queensland Reds

18.Archer Holz – NSW Waratahs

19.Hugh Sinclair – NSW Waratahs

20.Langi Gleeson- NSW Waratahs

21.James Tuttle – Melbourne Rebels

22.Hudson Creighton – Brumbies

23.Dylan Pietsch – NSW Waratahs

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