ACT Brumbies

Preview: Brumbies v Blues

Preview: Brumbies v Blues

Rugby royalty comes to Canberra with Sir John Kirwan and Sir Graham Henry bringing the Auckland Blues to take on the Brumbies on Friday night.

The last visit of the Blues will be in the mind of both players and fans of the Brumbies after the Blues knocked off the Brumbies 30-16 and ruin their finals chances back in 2012.

The Brumbies will be looking to make up for their loss last week to the Rebels but will be doing so without Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore who has been ruled out with a knee injury with Siliva Siliva taking his place in the starting side.

Part of team rehab this week

part of team rehab this week

A tough but short week at training for the home side will get them back on track and they will need to claim the win to keep the Waratahs at bay in the Australian conference standings.

To do that though, they have a few areas to clean up including turnovers and tackling success rate which is bottom of the pile across the competition and with the Blues averaging over 30 points per game they will need to be spot on executing their game plan.

Their scrum has been a real weapon of late with a penalty try in each of their last two games, will target the Blues scrum which has has trouble containing opposition attacks and with rain expected, there could be plenty of opportunities.

Scrum dominance

Scrum dominance

The Blues are coming off a win over the Cheetahs in Auckland that was played at high tempo resulting in a 40-30 win but they are also battling injury problems of their own.

The visitors come into this game with only two recognised locks following the injury to Tom Donnelly and will also be missing Luke Braid from the starting side but he is available from the bench.

Ironically, Brumbies reserve Jack Whetton knocked back a place in the Blues wider training group and could very well have been starting this game for the Blues. I wonder where his father and All Blacks legend Gary allegiances lie tonight?

However, they do possess enough players with experience across the board that can do the job. All Blacks Tony Woodcock and Ma’a Nonu have been around long enough to know how to grind out a win and with Jerome Kaino back from Japan and captaining the side, the Brumbies will need to be on their game to nullify those threats.

Here are the key matchups.

McCabe v. Nonu

Two strong runners of the ball that won’t take a backward step. It could depend on which Nonu turns up that decides the game – All Blacks version or the provincial version. Nonu can either put in a match winning performance or one that disappoints the fans.

Back 3

There are plenty of attacking threats from the back three of both sides if given the chance. Jesse Mogg and Robbie Coleman have crossed for five tries each so far for the Brumbies and from the Blues Tevita Li, Charles Piutau and Frank Halai all have two tries. Mogg and Piutau are in the top five for carries so far this season and hopefully they can find open space.

With the rain pouring down as this is being written, the kicking games will come into play and the Brumbies should come out on top with the long range kicking of Mogg the key. The Brumbies did win last years fixture in similar conditions in Auckland.

Fearless Prediction

The Brumbies will be stinging after their loss to the Rebels and will get over the line by four in a close one.


1. JP Smith
2. Siliva Siliva
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Jordan Smiler
7. Jarrad Butler
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Robbie Coleman
12. Pat McCabe
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Joe Tomane
15. Jesse Mogg

16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ruan Smith
18. Ruaidhri Murphy
19. Jack Whetton
20. Lachlan McCaffrey
21. Conrad Hoffmann
22. Andrew Smith
23. Christian Lealiifano


1. Tony Woodcock
2. Tom McCartney
3. Charlie Faumuina
4. Liaki Moli
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Jerome Kaino (c)
7. Brendan O’Connor
8. Steven Luatua
9. Bryn Hall
10. Simon Hickey
11. Tevita Li
12. Ma’a Nonu
13. George Moala
14. Frank Halai
15. Charles Piutau

16. James Parsons
17. Sam Pratley
18. Angus Ta’avao
19. Jordan Manihera
20. Luke Braid
21. Sonatane Takulua
22. Francis Saili
23. Benji Marshall

Kick off: 7:40pm (AEDT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
AR1: Angus Gardner
AR2: Damien Mitchelmore
TMO: George Ayoub

ACT Brumbies

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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