ACT Brumbies

Preview: Brumbies v Crusaders

Preview: Brumbies v Crusaders

The Brumbies head across the ditch to Christchurch to take on a resurgent Crusaders side in a real blockbuster match. The task is a daunting one for the Brumbies, with the visitors unable to secure a win in Crusaders territory since 2000.

The Brumbies head into the match on the back of an impressive display against the Chiefs last week whilst the Crusaders had the bye which looks to have come at the right time for them as they start to build momentum after a notoriously slow start that had some critics circling coach Todd Blackadder.

One positive for the Brumbies is that they have been able to name an unchanged starting side which should give them the continuity they need to build on last weeks match. There were some great pieces of play last week that will need to be on display again if they are to secure the win.

The hosts have made five changes in total from their last win, also over the Chiefs two weeks ago, with the big news that Richie McCaw is back from a fractured thumb after two months out. He won’t be in his customary seven jersey but will be on the blindside of the scrum such has been the form of Matt Todd. The Crusaders lineup would have looked even more formidable if Kieran Read was picked but he is still sitting out after the effects of concussion.

Richie - Back on the horse

Richie – Back on the horse

If they are to win, the Brumbies will need to get out of the blocks and silence the home crowd and the stats prove that they can do that. Statistically the Brumbies have scored eight of their 27 tries within the first 20 minutes whilst the Crusaders have just the one over the same period.

On the flipside, the one area they’ll need to fix is the finishing of the games with tries being leaked in the last quarter of the match that should cause concern for the coaching team of Steve Larkham and Laurie Fisher with only the Cheetahs having conceded more. The bench picked by the Crusaders could really decide the game in that last quarter.

Here are the key matchups.

Set Piece

The Brumbies scrum has looked fairly solid this season with the few blips occuring once the substitutes have taken to the field. In this match they come up against a scrum that has won 89% of their scrums and the matchup of Sio and Alexander up against Crockett and Franks one to keep an eye on.

The lineout is another good matchup with the Brumbies still leading the comp in terms of success rate. Ben Mowen and Scott Fardy are the main operators of their lineout and will need to maintain that success if they are to keep the likes of Sam and Luke Whitelock quiet.

Goal Kicking

The Crusaders kicking this year has been way down without Dan Carter. They are bottom of the pile with 67% and if try scoring chances are at a premium, then this could be their undoing.

The Brumbies have a number of options to do their kicking and although Christian Lealiifano had an off day with his radar last week, if he struggles again then Nic White could step up and keep the scoreboard ticking over. The Crusaders concede the least penalties per match so the Brumbies will need to take their chances when presented.

Fearless Prediction

The Brumbies have faced tough battles before and overcome them – think Pretoria last year – and this will be just as tough as they attempt to overcome a 14 year hoodoo. Having seen one of those defeats in person in Christchurch, I’m hoping that hoodoo comes to an end and predict the Brumbies by 3.


1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
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. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Joe Tomane
15. Jesse Mogg

16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ruan Smith
18. Ruaidhri Murphy
19. Jack Whetton
20. Tom McVerry
21. Michael Dowsett
22. Andrew Smith
23. Pat McCabe


1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Ben Funnell
3. Owen Franks
4. Dominic Bird
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Richie McCaw
7. Matt Todd
8. Luke Whitelock
9. Andy Ellis
10. Colin Slade
11. Nemani Nadolo
12. Ryan Crotty (c)
13. Kieron Fonotia
14. Johnny McNicholl
15. Israel Dagg

16. Corey Flynn
17. Tim Perry
18. Nepo Laulala
19. Luke Romano
20. Jordan Taufua
21. Willi Heinz
22. Tom Taylor
23. Nafi Tuitavake

Kick off: 2:35pm (AEDT)
Referee: Glen Jackson
AR1: Garratt Williamson
AR2: Ben O’Keefe
TMO: Vinny Munro

Stats provided by Opta Sports

ACT Brumbies

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

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