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ACT Brumbies confirm High Performance team for 2023 season



The ACT Brumbies have finalised their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific and Super W staff with several exciting additions and returning faces joining the club’s High-Performance unit (HPU).


General Manager Chris Thomson joined the club late last year, with the former World Rugby High-Performance Project Manager for Pathways and Player Development also heading up the Brumbies Super W and pathways program.


The High-Performance team will be guided by Team Manager Bill Swain, Assistant Manager Mal Daisley and Assistant Logistics Manager and club legend, Garry ‘Quinzo’ Quinlivan. 


Byron Field returns to the club following a four-year stint with Bath Rugby in England. Field spent 8 seasons with the Brumbies from 2011 to 2018 as a physiotherapist, moving into the club’s Head of Performance Health.


Kimberley Wells joins the club as Team Doctor, with Guy Little continuing in his role as the Brumbies Sport Psychologist.


Long-time physio Dave Wellington moves into the Head of Physiotherapy in 2022, with Ryan Clayton also stepping up as Head of Athletic Performance.


Clayton is supported by new Strength and Conditioning coach, Thomas Stebbing and Performance Data Manager, Nic Tanner, with Mitch Ward and Liam Slater working with Wellington as Team Physio and Rehabilitation coach respectively.


Michelle Minehan, a senior lecturer at the University of Canberra, joins as the club’s Dietician with Robin Duff adding valuable contribution to player welfare as the Brumbies RUPA appointed Player Development Manager.


Stuart Manton will assist Head Performance Analyst Matt Watkins, who comes in after nine years at Bath, with Rian Murphy continuing as Team Media Manager.


Daniel Hooper pivots into a new role as the Head of Elite Pathways and Player Development, working alongside experienced Strength and Conditioning coach Tristan Sharp who arrives at the club after leading the athletic performance program for the Wallaroo’s at last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.


Dan and Tristan will lead the alignment of the Brumbies Academy and Pathways Teams and will supported by the Head of Pathways, Andy Clark, along with ex-Brumby and new Academy and Pathways Forwards Coach, John Ulugia.


Tony Abel commences a new position within the organisation as the Brumbies Super W and Pathways Operations Manager and will support Thomson and Super W Head Coach Scott Fava in coordinating the delivery of this year’s program.  Abel will also lead the
delivery of the community pathways teams, the ACT Griffins, and Kestrels later
in the year.


ACT Brumbies General Manager Professional Rugby and Pathways, Chris Thomson said: “We’re pleased to assemble an exciting and experienced High-Performance team that will work to give our players the tools to be at their best in Super Rugby this season.”


“Though there’s change in the group, many of the additions have spent time in our environment in the past, or have shared experience at different clubs, and with Steve (Larkham) coming in as head coach, we have looked to build on the really solid foundation that exists at the club.”


ACT Brumbies 2023 High-Performance Team


Super Rugby Pacific


Stephen Larkham – Head Coach

Rod Seib – Assistant Coach (Attack)

Laurie Fisher – Assistant Coach (Defence)

Dan Palmer – Assistant Coach (Set Piece)

Damien Hill – Kicking Coach

Matt Watkins – Head Performance Analyst

Stuart Manton – Assistant Performance Analyst


Athletic Performance:

Ryan Clayton – Head of Athletic Performance

Thomas Stebbing – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Nick Tanner – Performance Data Manager


Performance Health:

Byron Field – Head of Performance Health

Dave Wellington – Head of Physiotherapy

Mitch Ward – Team Physiotherapist

Liam Slater – Rehabilitation Coach 

Kimberley Wells – Team Doctor

Guy Little – Sport Psychologist

Michelle Minehan – Performance Dietician



Chris Thomson – General Manager Professional Rugby &

Bill Swain – Team Manager

Mal Daisley – Assistant Team Manager 

Gary Quinlivan – Assistant Logistics Manager 

Robin Duff – Player Development Manager

Rian Murphy – Media Manager


Super W

Tony Abel – Super W and Pathways Operations Manager

Scott Fava – Head Coach

Mick Burrows – Assistant Coach

Tim Cornforth – Assistant Coach

Ryan Connell – Head S&C

Alice Mae – Head Physio

Karen Bisley – Super W and Pathways Team Doctor

Academy and Pathways


Dan Hooper – Head of Elite Pathways and Player Development

Tristan Sharp – Academy & Pathways Head S&C 

Andy Clark – Head of Pathways

John Ulugia – Academy & Pathways Forwards Coach

Mitch Ward – Academy & Pathways Head Physio

Joey Humphries – Academy & Pathways Assistant Physio

Keishav Muralietharan – Junior Academy Physio

Content & Images from – Brumbies Rugby

Super Rugby

Team Naming | March 24 v Brumbies



After a big win against the Blues at Eden Park in Round 4 last weekend, the team are riding high and ready to take on the currently unbeaten Brumbies. 


Dallas McLeod gets the nod in the midfield after a Man-of-the-Match performance in Auckland. Nine carries, nine defenders beaten and 18 tackles, and some quick footwork to set up scoring opportunities – McLeod is in great form as we climb into the season proper. 


“Dallas’ performance was something he was proud of, as were we,” said Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson, fresh off his announcement as All Blacks Head Coach from 2024. 


“He took his opportunities and we’re pleased for him.” 


Pepesana Patafilo, who debuted in the red and black last week comes into the starting XV in the 14 jersey. The winger was surprised by his selection against the Blues – probably time to get used to the feeling of donning the jersey he moved south from Wellington to play in.  


“We saw Peps energy off the bench and now he’s got the opportunity to light it up from the start,” Robertson. 


Meanwhile, Zach Gallagher returns to the starting XV in his first start of the 2023 season.  


First five Richie Mo’unga will bring up his 99th cap for the Crusaders this week, set to make his 100th appearance at home against Moana Pasifika on Good Friday (7 April). 


With 49 tackles between them last week, the loosehead trio of Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie and Sione Talitui returns against the Brumbies, bringing strength and experience to side. 


Robertson said the Brumbies were “a strong side and we’re expecting a big contest”. 


“It’s great to be playing back at home. We’ve had some historic matches against the Brumbies and our fierce rivalry brings out the best from both of us and we expect it again this Friday. 


“The Brumbies are in great nick so far this season, a strong side, and we’re focused on our performance based on efforts.” 


Get your tickets here  for Friday night! Kick-off 7:05pm. 

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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Super Rugby

O’Connor, Annan to start in Reds Suncorp Stadium return



The Queensland Reds have made three changes to their starting XV ahead of this Sunday’s Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific Round 4 clash against the Fijian Drua.

In what will be Queensland’s first appearance at Suncorp Stadium in 2023, James O’Connor will return to the starting side at flyhalf after making a successful comeback from injury via the bench, while Taj Annan will make his first Super Rugby start at inside centre.

Jock Campbell will also return to the run-on team at fullback, with the Queensland forward pack remaining unchanged after last week’s narrow loss to the Brumbies in Canberra.

Head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’re excited to be back at Suncorp this week. We love playing in front of our Queensland fans.

“The Drua are coming off a memorable win in Fiji. They’re a great attacking team and can hurt you from anywhere on the field.

“It should be a great afternoon with some fast, attacking Rugby on display.”

Campbell’s return to the number-15 jersey sees Jordan Petaia shift to the wing to partner Filipo Daugunu out wide, while Suliasi Vunivalu is set to provide firepower off the bench.

Annan will pair with Josh Flook in the centres after Hunter Paisami was ruled out with concussion.

Co-captain Tate McDermott and James O’Connor will reprise their partnership in the halves, while fellow skipper Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson make for a settled backrow trio.

Seru Uru will look to recreate his heroics in last year’s fixture, with the lock scoring a crucial try and snatching a lineout steal in the final minutes to secure the win over the Drua in 2022. He’ll combine with Ryan Smith in the second row.

Dane Zander, Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr start in the front row in what will be Queensland’s second fixture against the Drua in Super Rugby Pacific.

The competition will celebrate its inaugural ‘Kids Round’ this weekend, with youngsters set to flood Suncorp Stadium for the family-friendly Sunday afternoon game. Tickets available via

Queensland Reds v Fijian Drua, Sunday 19 March, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 3:00pm AEST. Watch live via Stan Sport.

  1. Dane Zander – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Albany Creek Brumbies
  2. Matt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ Saints
  3. Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles
  4. Ryan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe – Caboolture Snakes
  5. Seru Uru – Wests – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, Fiji
  6. Liam Wright (cc) – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School – Easts
  7. Fraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek Brumbies
  8. Harry Wilson – Brothers – St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – Gunnedah Red Devils
  9. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast Grammar School – Flinders Rugby Club
  10. James O’Connor – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
  11. Filipo Daugunu – Wests – Dogotuki District School, Fjii
  12. Taj Annan* – Souths – Brisbane Boys College – Merewether Carlton
  13. Josh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
  14. Jordan Petaia – Wests – Brisbane State High School
  15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – The Southport School – Inverell Highlanders
  16. Richie Asiata – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School
  17. Sef Fa’agase – Sunnybank – Shailer Park State High School – Beaudesert Warriors
  18. Peni Ravai – Easts – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji
  19. Jake Upfield – Bond University – The Southport School
  20. Connor Vest – University of Queensland – Grafton High School – Grafton Junior Rugby Club
  21. Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School – Souths
  22. Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland – Epsom College – Richmond Rugby Club
  23. Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland

*denotes Queensland and Super Rugby Pacific starting debut

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby

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Super Rugby

Squad Naming: Round Four vs Blues



The Crusaders have named their squad to take on the Blues this Saturday, 18 March, at Eden Park. 


Round Four of Super Rugby Pacific 2023 brings up a rematch of the 2022 final, when Crusaders took out their sixth title beating the Blues 21-7 at home. Always a great Kiwi derby, both teams are set to front a strong pack in Auckland. 


On debut is Pepesana Patafilo, set to make an impact off the bench. On his selection, Patafilo said he was “surprised and excited”. 


Previously with the Hurricanes, Patafilo made the move south late last year and said the “attention to detail in the Crusaders environment is next level”. 


Scott Robertson, Crusaders Head Coach, said Patafilo brought huge energy to the team. 


“He works hard and tops a lot of our stats in our GPS tracking during training. So, we’re excited for him and so is he,” Robertson said. 


Hooker Codie Taylor returns to the front row alongside Joe Moody and Tamaiti Williams, with Brodie McAlister, Kershawl Sykes-Martin and George Bower on impact. Sykes-Martin debuted last week in Fiji. 


No more than 11 capped All Blacks will look to take the field on Saturday, including the likes of Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Braydon Ennor and Richie Mo’unga. 


“It’s going to be a hell of a weekend,” Robertson said.  


“We’ve had some historic games over the last few years haven’t we. They beat us at home, we’ve beat them up there and they’ve got some awesome rugby players playing for them.” 


Sevu Reece and Leicester Fainga’anuku are taking the wings while Braydon Ennor and Dallas McLeod are covering centre. Fergus Burke returns to full back. 


Coming off a loss in Fiji against the Drua last weekend, Robertson said the team showed a lot of effort “but it’s the execution part we’ve really focused on this week”. 


“It’s another big game for us, another great opportunity for our players to go out and perform at a great local derby.” 


“It’s great to have our hookers back, they weren’t available last week, and we decided to give our All Blacks the opportunity to have a rest week, so we welcome them back too. 


Kick-off Saturday night at 7:05pm, Eden Park Auckland. 

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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