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Brumbies look for Alaalatoa to spark Super response

Alex Mitchell -

The ACT Brumbies hope the return of some big names can spark a lift as they look to bounce back from their "embarrassing" Super Rugby Pacific hammering by the Blues.

Thrashed 46-7 at Eden Park in Auckland last time out, the challenges keep coming for the Brumbies, who host the league-leading Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.

That task will be made slightly easier with the addition of returning Wallabies Len Ikitau and Allan Alaalatoa to their lineup, with the latter set for his first match since an achilles rupture against the All Blacks last July.

Regular Brumbies skipper Alaalatoa won't captain the side against the Hurricanes, with Ryan Lonergan continuing in the job, but his return will bring a massive leadership boost to a side that has struggled to get the job done in the crunch encounters this season.

"It's been a long road for Allan to come back in … he's gone through his late-stage rehab over the last month and is raring to go," coach Stephen Larkham said.

"We held him back (last week) and he's very keen to get out there.

"There's a few fresh bodies that come in (after) a disappointing game on the weekend where we let ourselves down, particularly in the second half.

"(The Blues) ran away with it, and it's certainly not typical Brumby style to finish the game that way."

Larkham said Wallabies staff were helping guide Alaalatoa's return, with the national team leadership contender initially slated to play much earlier in the season.

"The original return date was around round four, and then it got pushed to round 10," he said.

"It's been a challenge. It's like all the rehab processes, we want to make sure the players are ready to perform, not just go out there and play.

"We feel that Al's at that stage now."

The Brumbies will hope to claim a statement win against the unbeaten Hurricanes, having fallen in their two previous matches against the leading contenders.

They were beaten 46-12 by the Chiefs in round two, before last weekend's similar result against the Blues.

"There was a bit of disappointment, embarrassment, from the game on the weekend and we saw that in training on Tuesday," Larkham said.

"We probably took it up a notch in terms of the physicality, we know that's what's needed this weekend ... coming off a loss like that, it's pretty easy to motivate yourself to come out and train."

Alex Mitchell - AAP

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