Gerrard’s surprise return as Mortlock ruled out

CA Brumbies captain Stirling Mortlock has been ruled out of his side’s first home Super 14 fixture against the Blues at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

The star outside centre has failed to fully recover from a head knock he sustained in the CA Brumbies’ 21-15 win against the Chiefs last weekend in Hamilton. Mortlock’s position in the backline will be taken by Adam Ashley-Cooper while Peter Playford will make his Super 14 debut on the left wing.

Fisher says the decision to rest Mortlock was a precautionary one.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a quality player like Stirlo,” he said. “He’s still suffering a few effects from his head knock and it just wasn’t worth risking him. But in saying that, Coopy showed some excellent form for us at 13 during the trials. He’s a powerful ball runner and defended at inside centre last week against the Chiefs, so we’re confident he’ll get the job done for us on Saturday night.”

In a surprise return Mark Gerrard will rejoin the CA Brumbies’ 22-man squad after previously being ruled out with a knee injury. Gerrard was assisted from the field with eight minutes remaining against the Chiefs after twisting his left knee in a tackle. He was later diagnosed with a medial strain.

However, the 24 year old completed an execution session with his team mates at Viking Park yesterday and convinced coaching and medical staff that he is fit to take part in Saturday’s match.

Gerrard, who will start from the bench, says missing several training sessions during the week prevented him from being considered for the starting line-up.

“The recovery’s probably been a bit quicker than expected,” he said. “While there was some stiffness and soreness early in the week, it’s feels 100 per cent now.”

In Mortlock’s absence, lock Alister Campbell has been named as captain and will become the sixth player to lead CA Brumbies.

CA Brumbies to play the Blues at Canberra Stadium

Saturday, 10 February, 2007. Kick-off: 7.40pm.

Nic Henderson,
Jeremy Paul,
Guy Shepherdson,
Alister Campbell (C),
Mark Chisholm,
Julian Salvi,
George Smith,
Stephen Hoiles,
George Gregan,
Stephen Larkham,
Peter Playford,
Gene Fairbanks,
Adam Ashley-Cooper,
Clyde Rathbone,
Julian Huxley.


Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Salesi Ma’afu, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jone Tawake, Patrick Phibbs, Matt Carraro, Mark Gerrard.

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