Brumbies opt for in-form Coleman in Super Rugby final

Brumbies player Robbie Coleman in the team's new kit for the Singapore 10's tournament. .. 16th June. 2104. Photo by Melissa Adams of The Canberra Times.

Brumbies player Robbie Coleman in the team's new kit for the Singapore 10's tournament. .. 16th June. 2104. Photo by Melissa Adams of The Canberra Times.

SUPER RUGBY 

Last year Brumbies back Robbie Coleman was best described as a handy utility, getting the odd gig off the bench.

But the try-scoring pocket rocket has been in such hot form in 2014 that he's been given the nod ahead of Wallabies flyer Joe Tomane for Saturday's Super Rugby qualifying final against the Chiefs in Canberra.

The Brumbies have made only one change to their starting side after their 47-25 win over Western Force, Coleman returning from a quad niggle to replace veteran winger Clyde Rathbone, who has tweaked his hamstring.

It's a much-deserved reward for Coleman, 23, who has made the most of several opportunities presented to him through injury to be the season's third-leading try scorer with seven tries.

Dubbed the "Prince of Queanbeyan" by Matt Giteau in 2011, Coleman is a former sevens star who began his Brumbies career at inside-centre before moving further out wide.

He's keen to build on the Brumbies' momentum for the grand final rematch after last week's hammering of the Force.

"It was tough watching the boys play so well last week and not being a part of it," Coleman said.

His inclusion means Tomane will spend his second straight week on the bench after missing eight weeks of rugby with a fractured cheekbone.

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham admitted it was a difficult decision.

"Robbie was sort of the incumbent. So he deserves a spot," Larkham said.

Larkham is also hoping that by keeping Wallabies Pat McCabe and Tomane on the bench, the Brumbies will be able to deliver the same late impact that the Chiefs blitzed them with in last year's Super Rugby final.

Down by 10 points with 15 minutes to play, the Chiefs bench was pivotal in their two late tries to steal the game 27-22.

"We're expecting a fair bit out of our bench," Larkham said.

"Last year that last 15 minutes got away from us. So we're going to use the full squad."

Rookie prop Allan Alaalatoa has been named on the bench in the only other change made to the match-day 23, his debut inclusion due to an injury to JP Smith.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, also had the luxury of making just one starting change, with Dwayne Sweeney starting at fullback, pushing Tom Marshall to the bench.

Chiefs captain Liam Messam has declared it "do or die" time for his side.

"We have a lot of belief in our group and now we need to convert that into our performance," Messam said.

AAP

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