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David Pocock captains Brumbies in Queenstown
January 28, 2014
David Pocock will wear the armband in Queenstown © Getty Images
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David Pocock David Pocock will captain the Brumbies in their first Super Rugby pre-season trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown on Friday.

Pocock has not played for the Brumbies since he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee nine months ago, three games into the Super Rugby 2013, season, but he said recently that he was "feeling fit and good".

He is expected to play the first 40 minutes of the match, and hopes to "go pretty hard" because "in trial games it's about testing yourself, getting a bit of match fitness".

Wallabies centre Pat McCabe will make his comeback from a serious injury, having been given the all-clear to return from a broken neck, and recruits Haru Tetakawa, Jarrad Butler, Jack Whetton, Lionel Cronje and Conrad Hoffmann will also feature. Five Extended Playing Squad members - Lachlan McCaffrey, Michael Dowsett, Stephan Van Der Walt, Jean-Pierre Smith and Allan Alaalatoa - as well as train-on squad players Rodney Iona, Matt Hawke, Michael Smith and Tom Staniforth have been included, but team captain Ben Mowen and the remainder of the Brumbies' Wallabies end-of-year tour players have been rested from the trial.

Pocock admits the nerves will continue to build ahead of the trial, as the anterior cruciate ligament rupture was the first major injury of his career.

"It's the first big surgery I've had, but the Brumbies have such a good rehab program and I'm very confident with where I'm at and it's all mental now,'' he said. "I'm nervous, but I think I'm more excited.''

Highlanders coach Jamie Jospeph, meanwhile, named a starting side featuring seven first-time players: Craig Millar, Gareth Evans, Lee Allan, Tom Franklin, Richard Buckman, Winston Stanley and Patrick Osborne. Buckman and Osborne have joined the franchise from the Hurricanes and Chiefs respectively, while Stanley has returned to New Zealand rugby after playing for Western Force in Australia, while Millar, Evans, Franklin and Allan are stepping up together after each producing a strong season with Otago in the ITM Cup.

The entire squad will travel to Queenstown, and most players will enjoy some game time - most notably Highlanders debutants Kane Hame, who joined from Bay of Plenty, Ged Robinson (Melbourne Rebels), Malakai Fekitoa (Blues) and Argentina international Matias Diaz.

The game will be played in four 20-minute quarters with a five-minute drinks break after the first and third quarters. The match will feature a standard half-time break.

Highlanders starting XV: Trent Renata ; Patrick Osborne, Winston Stanley, Shaun Treeby, Richard Buckman; Hayden Parker, Frae Wilson; Elliot Dixon, Lee Allan, Gareth Evans; Tom Franklin, Jarrad Hoeata; Ma'afu Fia, Liam Coltman (captain), Craig Millar.

Notes: As is usual with pre-season games, the full Highlanders squad will travel to Queenstown for the match and are likely to get game time. There are a number of Highlanders debutants in the reserves including Kane Hames (BOP), Ged Robinson (Rebels), Malakai Fekitoa (Blues) and Argentinian international Matias Diaz. The game will be played as four 20 minute quarters with a five minute drinks break at the first and third quarter and a standard half time break.

Brumbies squad: Allan Alaalatoa , Fotu Auelua, Jarrad Butler, Sam Carter, Robbie Coleman, Lionel Cronje, Michael Dowsett, Matt Hawke, Conrad Hoffman, Rod Iona, Josh MannRea , Pat McCabe, Lachlan McCaffery, David Pocock, Leon Power, Clyde Rathbone, Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Andrew Smith, JP Smith, Michael Smith, Ruan Smith, Henry Speight, Tom Stainiforth, Haru Tetakawa, Jack Whetton, Stephan Van der Walt.

© AAP

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