Palmer returns for Brumbies
May 4, 2013
Brumbies prop Dan Palmer's nous in the scrum has seen him brought back into the starting side © Getty Images
Hard-running prop Dan Palmer has been recalled to the ACT Brumbies starting side for Sunday's mouth-watering Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders at Canberra Stadium.
Palmer is the only change to the league-leading Brumbies' side that crushed Western Force last weekend.
The former Waratahs big man will start at tight-head prop, with Ben Alexander moving to loose-head and pushing Scott Sio to the bench. Brumbies coach Jake White said Palmer's experience would be crucial against a formidable Crusaders forward pack
"The Crusaders have almost 300 (Super Rugby) caps in their front row, so it makes sense to get Dan, who is probably our best scrummaging forward, into the team," White said. "Dan Palmer has been terrific in the scrum for us this year and we will be looking for a big performance from him.
"The beginning of the season is about making sure you give opportunities and maybe try one or two things but once you're getting momentum into the backend of the competition, you want to be playing your best rugby. By this point in the season, we would like to be keeping more consistency in our selections and I suppose that is clearly reflected in the team we've picked."
Palmer's inclusion means Ruaidhri Murphy is the unlucky player to drop out of the 22. While he is desperate to start every game, Palmer said he understood the club's recent rotation policy - especially amongst their prop forwards.
The 24-year-old is confident it will hold the side in good stead when it comes to the finals later this year.
"To be able to rotate in such an intense competition can only be a positive," Palmer said. "We're happy with our depth and we know we've got four blokes who can step up and play any game this year. I don't think every team is in a position to say they've got that."
The Brumbies have a sensational record in Canberra against Super Rugby heavyweights the Crusaders, having won every match there since 2003.
It's a milestone match for veteran forward George Smith, who will break George Gregan's record for most appearances for the Brumbies when he runs out for his 137th game for the club.
Brumbies: Jesse Mogg; Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane; Matt Toomua, Nic White; Ben Mowen (capt), George Smith, Fotu Auelua; Sam Carter, Peter Kimlin; Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Replacements: Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Leon Power, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Pat McCabe, Robbie Coleman.