Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has declared the opening leg of a gruelling world tour against South Africa's Kings as the first of their three most-important Super Rugby matches this season.
The ACT-based franchise have spent most of the year at the top of the Australian conference but, in a disastrous mid-season slump, they have lost four in a row for the first time since 2011.
Only the diabolical form of their domestic rivals is keeping them afloat amid a 210-minute try drought.
Sunday morning's match in Port Elizabeth comes with the Kings in winning an unprecedented three straight.
The Brumbies then face the Jaguares in Argentina before returning to Canberra the following week to play the Melbourne Rebels.
"Three very important games for the boys and, in the context of the season, probably our most important," Larkham said.
Exciting fullback Tom Banks gets another chance to prove himself in the No.15 jersey, with Aidan Toua shifting to the wing.
The Brumbies will look for the 22-year-old to inject some spark into their struggling attack.
"Aidan's got tremendous experience, he's a very good communicator and he'll give us good direction from there," Larkham said.
"Banksy has performed well when he's played at fullback so I want to give him another chance there."
Consistent flanker Chris Alcock returns to the side after being rested for last week's loss to the Lions.
"He's feeling very refreshed and certainly over the little niggly injury he had," Larkham said.
Kings fullback Masixole Banda (hamstring) has been replaced by Chrysander Botha and Larkham is wary of wingers Alshaun Bock and Makazole Mapimpi.
"Their back three are very fast, electric and probably the quickest in the competition," Larkham said.
"They've got Lionel Cronje playing 10 who played with us for a number of years and he's playing some really good football at the moment.
"They've got a typical South African forward pack - big, aggressive and no-nonsense."
Larkham has put faith in winger Andrew Muirhead, who doesn't have a professional contract, to play off the bench after impressing in club rugby.
"We expect the boys to go back to club (rugby) and play exceptional footy and he's been doing that so we've rewarded him with an opportunity this weekend," Larkham said.
Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Aidan Toua, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Jordan Smiler, Chris Alcock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (capt), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander.
Res: Robbie Abel, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaiali-Makin, Blake Enever, Jarrad Butler, De Wet Roos, Andrew Muirhead, Andrew Smith.