Wallabies George Smith and Clyde Rathbone will return to the ACT Brumbies starting team for this weekend's Super Rugby qualifier against South Africa's Central Cheetahs, the club said on Friday.

The players are making an unlikely finals appearance in Canberra on Sunday after Rathbone came out of retirement this year and Smith was loaned by his Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.

Making way for winger Rathbone is Joe Tomane, who played for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions this month, while Colby Faingaa also goes to the bench with flanker Smith taking the number seven jersey.

Scrum-half Nic White also returns to the starting side for the first time since injuring his shoulder with Ian Prior returning to the bench.

"Bringing two guys like Clyde and George into our starting side will give us experience when we need it. Those two guys have both won championships at Canberra Stadium and it's exciting to have them involved," coach Jake White said.

"The Cheetahs are a side which has made huge improvements over the last two seasons and it's a credit to them that they are now a competition threat."

It will be the Brumbies first finals match since they won the Super Rugby title in 2004.

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