Scott Sio wants a Wallabies jersey.It’s the most unlikely of places to launch your hopes for Wallabies selection, but Scott Sio will use the ACT XV clash with Samoa A to prove he’s ready to become a Super Rugby regular and enter the Test arena.
Versatile front-rower Sio will start as the ACT’s loose-head prop at Viking Park on Friday night.
Brumbies coach Jake White is using the match to give his fringe players a chance to get game time and shine during the club’s bye week.
And no one is more determined to take their chance than Sio.
The former Australian under-20s prop played the last 20 minutes of the Brumbies’ victory over the Melbourne Rebels last Friday night.
Trying to force his way into a front-row rotation that includes Wallabies Ben Alexander and Dan Palmer as well as the highly-rated Ruaidhri Murphy is a tough task. But that hasn’t stopped the 21-year-old from setting his sights on earning a Wallabies jersey this year.
”My goal is to consistently be in the game-day 22 for the Brumbies and to establish myself there,” Sio said.
”I know the other guys are established, but I’d love to start a few games this season. Then the Wallabies tour is at the end of the year and you have to set your sights high, so I have to aim for that. I think I can get there, that’s the mentality you’ve got to have and if you set that goal, you have to believe in it.”
Sio played just four games in his debut campaign last year. But his ability to play on either side of the scrum makes him an attractive prospect for White to inject into his line-up during the year.
With the Brumbies boasting plenty of depth this season, the ACT XV clash will be an audition for spots for the squad to tour South Africa.
They will get another chance against Tonga next week, which looms as Pat McCabe’s return game from a career-threatening neck injury if he is given a clearance to play again.
White is also starting a 22-man squad of Canberra premier-division players who will train with and against the Brumbies each week.
Powerful No.8 Fotu Auelua will captain the ACT XV.
With Brumbies great George Smith arriving on a short-term deal with the club, White will be trying to figure out how to fit Smith, David Pocock, Peter Kimlin, Ben Mowen, Auelua and Colby Faingaa into a rotation.
But Auelua was just keen for game time after starting the first two matches of the Super Rugby season on the bench.
”I’m looking forward to it and playing against my own heritage makes the game more meaningful,” Auelua said.
”I just need to work on my game and get a lot more confidence going into the Super Rugby season. George really helped me when I was injured at Toulon with my technique and things, so it’s going to be great to work with him again.”
FRIDAY: ACT XV v Samoa A at Viking Park, 6pm.
ACT XV: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Siliva Siliva, 3. Ruan Smith, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 5. Leon Power, 6. Jordan Smiler, 7. Colby Faingaa, 8. Fotu Auelua, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Zack Holmes, 11. Stephan Van Der walt, 12. Jordan Rapana, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Tom Cox, 15. Robbie Coleman. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Sione Taula, 18. Les Makin, 19. Gareth Clouston, 20. Tim Cree, 21. Mark Swanepoel, 22. Sam Windsor.
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