David Polkinghorne June 09, 2012
Kimami Sitauti of the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images
As far as Super Rugby auditions go, it doesn't get much bigger than taking on Six Nations champion Wales.
That's what's in store for the ACT Brumbies' outside backs Cam Crawford and Kimami Sitauti when they play the grand slam winner at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday night.
A back-line vacancy has opened up on the bench with winger Joe Tomane set to miss up to six weeks due to the syndesmosis injury he suffered during Wallabies training at Ballymore on Thursday.
Tomane might not play until the finals, opening up a spot on the bench when the season resumes against the Western Force on June 30 as the Brumbies push for their first play-offs appearance since 2004. If Sitauti can impress against Wales, it could see him make his Super Rugby debut in the run to the finals.
Brumbies backs coach Steve Larkham said it was a three-way tussle between Crawford, Sitauti and Tom Cox, with no clear leader at this stage.
Crawford travelled to South Africa with the team in April and was named on the bench against the Waikato Chiefs in March. He appeared to be the frontrunner, but Sitauti's strong form for the Royals in the John I Dent Cup has brought him back into contention.
Both Crawford and Sitauti will start on the wings against Wales, while Cox will be on the bench.
''There's a couple of guys fighting it out … who've all been in the mix this year at some stage and this Wales game will be a good test for them. It will give us a good gauge as to who's up to the next level,'' Larkham said.
He said Sitauti was very dangerous in attack, especially one on one, but had taken a little time to fit into the Brumbies system after moving down from the Queensland Reds this season.
Sitauti, who shares a house with Tomane, won a rugby sevens silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and was part of Australia's under 20s who finished third at last year's world championships in Italy.
Despite playing in those big games, the 21-year-old thinks the game against Wales will be another step up for him. ''I feel really confident for the game but it's also going to be a good challenge for me because I haven't played against an international team like Wales. Sevens is different because there's only seven players on the field and different structures,'' Kimami said.