In four changes to the Hurricanes starting fifteen that drew 26-26 with the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium in round eight, Tyson Keats comes in for Piri Weepu at halfback, Aaron Cruden replaces Willie Ripia at first five-eighth Tamati Ellison comes on to the right wing for Andre Taylor and Nick Crosswell takes over from an ill Karl Lowe at openside flanker.
Cruden, who has seen game time in every match of the season to date, earns his second starting role after making his run-on debut against the Cheetahs in round four, while Tyson re-joins the run-on side for his third start, for Weepu who has withdrawn for compassionate reasons.
Ellison returns to the wing to play his 50th Super Rugby match (including one for the Blues in 2005) for Taylor after withdrawing late in the build-up to the Crusaders game due to a recurrence of the shoulder injury he sustained earlier in the season against the Lions.
In four changes to the substitutions bench from the Crusaders match, prop Jacob Ellison replaces Anthony Perenise, David Smith comes in for Jason Kawau, Chris Eaton for Keats and James Broadhurst for Scott Waldrom whose wife is having a baby.
Friday's match is the first of five round-robin matches for the Hurricanes leading up to the 2010 playoffs in the third weekend of May. The Hurricanes are currently in ninth place on 18 competition points and 10 points off the fourth placed position that is currently occupied by the Stormers and are searching for wins in each of their five remaining matches to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
The Brumbies are coming off a 61-15 win over the Cheetahs at home, which lifted them to fifth equal on 26 points with six wins from eight.
For inspiration the Hurricanes can look back on their 56-7 win over the Brumbies last season in Wellington, their largest ever win against Australian opposition and surpassing the 49 points they piled on against the Brumbies in 2005. After conceding the game's first try to the Brumbies, the Hurricanes stormed to a 25-7 lead inside the opening half hour and grabbed a four-try bonus point before halftime.
Fourteen players in the Hurricanes squad for this match played in that ANZAC Day round 11 clash last year, including try-scorers Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Tamati Ellison, David Smith and Victor Vito.
The Hurricanes have won the last three matches against the Brumbies including their memorable win last year, a 33-15 triumph over them on their home patch in Canberra in 2008 and a narrow win on fulltime in 2007 in Wellington when loose forward Thomas Waldrom scored in the corner at the end to seal a favourable 11-10 result.
The Hurricanes and the Brumbies bring a well-established tradition of evenly contested, hard fought contests between each other. In 15 previous Super Rugby encounters, the Hurricanes have won on seven occasions and the Brumbies eight with the Brumbies winning the first three in 1996 and 1997 and the Hurricanes the last three.
With the exception of the 2007 result, the overwhelming pattern of the previous games between these two sides is of been high scoring and free flowing rugby, reflecting the attractive rugby both like to play.
Both have had some of the competitions most enterprising players in their ranks, such as former Brumbies players halfback George Gregan, first five-eighth Stephen Larkham and Joe Roff, who scored 15 tries in 1997, and for the Hurricanes Tana Umaga and Christian Cullen who scored six tries in his first four games against them between 1996-98.
In all their 15 encounters, including a semi-final in 1997, a cumulative average of 56 points have been scored by both teams per encounter and 60 points or more in the match have been scored on eight occasions.
Memorable matches for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies include 1998s 32-29 win in Canberra, the Hurricanes becoming the first New Zealand side to win there, 2002s 20-13 win in Canberra, which was the Brumbies first defeat at home since the 2000 final, and 2005s 49-37 win in Wellington featuring a hat trick to Maa Nonu.
The Hurricanes top try scorer against the Brumbies is Cullen with eight tries, while Maa Nonu, Chris Masoe, David Holwell, Jonah Lomu, Brent Ward, Zac Guildford and Lome Faatau have all touched down at least twice.
The Hurricanes also defeated the Brumbies 26-5 in a pre-season match at Porirua Park in late January.
The Hurricanes have gone winless in their last five matches - a sequence of LLLLD - they have never before gone six matches in succession without a win. They have lost five matches in a row on three previous occasions but never in the same year. They lost their last three games in 1998 and the first two in 1999, the last three in 2002 and the first two in 2003 and more recently the last three in 2003 and the first two in 2004.
The Hurricanes have won their last three Super matches in Australia. In 2008 they beat the Brumbies 33-15 in Canberra and in 2009 they beat the Force 28-27 in Perth and the Reds 37-28 in Brisbane.
The Hurricanes' record in Super rugby matches against the Brumbies in Canberra is: P8 W3 L5 D0. The Brumbies' record at home (in Canberra) is P92 W74 (80.4%) L17 D1.
The Hurricanes have aggregated 421 points against the Brumbies (49T 34C 36P 0DG) and the Brumbies have aggregated 403 points against the Hurricanes (50T 33C 28 P 1DG).
In all matches against each other the Hurricanes (49) and the Brumbies (50) have aggregated 99 tries between them. In all matches between the two neither side has ever failed to score at least one try against the other. 40 of the Hurricanes 49 tries against the Brumbies have been scored through the backs.
The most tries by the Hurricanes in a match against the Brumbies is eight at Wellington in 2009. The most tries by the Brumbies in a match against the Hurricanes is seven at Canberra in 2004.
The most penalties by the Hurricanes in a match against the Brumbies is six at Canberra in 1998.The most penalties by the Brumbies in a match against the Hurricanes is six at Canberra in 2000.
The individual record for the most penalties by a Hurricanes' player in a match against the Brumbies is six by Jon Preston at Canberra in 1998. The individual record for the most penalties by a Brumbies' player in a match against the Hurricanes is five by Stirling Mortlock at Canberra in 2000.
David Holwell holds the individual record for most points by a Hurricanes' player in all matches against the Brumbies with 83 points - 3T 13C 14P.
The most points by an individual in a match for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies is 22 by Jon Preston at Canberra in 1998. The most points by an individual in a match for the Brumbies against the Hurricanes is 21 by Stirling Mortlock at Canberra in 2000.
The Hurricanes team is:
1. John Schwalger
2. Andrew Hore (captain)
3. Neemia Tialata
4. Jeremy Thrush
5. Michael Paterson
6. Victor Vito
7. Nick Crosswell
8. Rodney Sooialo
9. Tyson Keats
10. Aaron Cruden
11. Hosea Gear
12. Maa Nonu
13. Conrad Smith
14. Tamati Ellison
15. Cory Jane
16. Dane Coles
17. Jacob Ellison
18. Bryn Evans
19. James Broadhurst
20. Chris Eaton
21. Willie Ripia
22. David Smith