ACT Brumbies

Preview: Brumbies v Rebels

Preview: Brumbies v Rebels

The ACT Brumbies host the Melbourne Rebels in round 13 of Super Rugby 2018.

For both teams, the equation is fairly simple; if either team want a chance at finals football, they must win this match. Lose, and the challenge to make the finals will almost be impossible.


The Rebels come off a humbling 55 – 10 loss to the Crusaders, their worst defeat at the Stockade. Despite the close score at half time, losing Genia to injury was the match killer, with the Crusaders piling on 45 point to zip.

It was another case of the Rebels not lasting the full 80 minutes; missed tackles (38!), poor discipline, and coach killer decision making high on the list of issues. The problem largely boils down to lacking composure; the Rebels must learn to keep a cool head under pressure, back their decision making, and execute their game plan.

The Brumbies survived a torrid encounter with the bye, after a home loss to the Crusaders. They will be fresh and rearing to go.


For the Rebels, there a number of changes, including a run-on debut. Whilst Genia recovering from a hamstring injury, Ruru gets another start at 9. Hodge and English reunite in the midfield, with Billy Meakes moving to the pine.

After a few runs from the bench, Semisi Tupou get his first start on the, replacing fellow Box Hill boy Sefa Naivalu. Wessels has chosen a 6-2 split on the bench, with “Big Red” Jeffries getting a spot on the pine. Goddard takes over the backup 9 spot.

Tupou get his first start for the Rebels

The Brumbies welcome back Valentini, Lealiifano, and McCaffrey to the starting side. It’s great news for Rob Valentini, who injured his knee against the Sunwolves in round one. He will bring some welcome grunt to the Brumbies back row.

Sadly for Brumbies fans, Pocock is still out with a calf injury.

Key Match-ups

Valetini Vs Mafi

I expect this match-up to be huge.  After a big NRC, the Brumbies had big plans for Rob Valetini.  He was an absolute sensation in the NRC, with his damaging runs and offload game.   An injury in round one has limited his game time, but he’s successfully recovered and ready to cause havoc.  Rumor has it the famed Canberra steak sangas has helped his recovery.

Rob Valetini – the answer at number 8?

He will face the Rebels superstar, Amanaki Mafi. One of the best runners in the competition, Mafi can open opposition backlines, link wit the support runs, and get the ball wide for the backs.  Usually these runs end in points, but the opposition teams have done their homework, and have limited his impact.  He will look for a big game this weekend.

Banks v Maddocks

This is the battle of the young pups. With the Irish series around the corner, Chekia will be keeping an eye on these two for a spot in the squad. A few eyebrows were raised when  Banks was overlooked for EOYT 2017, with the development spot going to Maddocks. When pressed on his decision, Cheika said “the kid has an x-factor that’s real exciting”.  He’s  shown glimpses of x-factor, scoring plenty of tries and season early in the season.  Maddocks has gone a little quiet in the last few matches, so he needs to return to his early season form.

Maddocks celebrates another try.

Banks is another exciting talent, lighting up NRC2017 with the Vikings, and now with the Brumbies. He has impressive speed, and an uncanny ability to find the try line, as seen in the Jaguares match. He’s consistently making good metres, but a high amount of turnovers is putting pressure on his teammates. The Rebels will look to put pressure on him, if they can catch him.

Koroibete v Speight

It’s another round of the “Festival of Flying Fijians” (or FOFF), and I’m excited. With Cheika keeping an eye on both men for the Ireland series, I expect to see both wingers to put in big games.

Koroibete has been a little quiet these last few weeks. largely due to a lack of ball. He needs to find a way to inject himself better, and use that pace to score tries.

The Flying Fijians 

Speight is starting to find his feet again, and may yet push for a Wallabies spot. One of the few shining lights from the Crusaders match, with 63 run meters, 9 carries, and a try.

Fearless prediction

The Brumbies have an imposing record against the Rebels in Canberra, willing four out of five encounters.   When you consider recent history, the Rebels have won three of the last five.  I don’t think in this case that history is a reliable guide for how the teams will go.

It’s clear that Wessels thinks the game will be won in the forwards, with the 6-2 split. Given the Brumbies are without Pocock and Naisarani, I think the Rebels will win the set piece & breakdown battles, then use the backline to unleash hell.  It will be tight for the first 60 min, then the Rebels will pull away for the win.

Rebels by 7.

The Details


1 Scott Sio
2 Folau Fainga’a
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Rory Arnold
5 Sam Carter
6 Lachlan McCaffrey
7 Thomas Cusack
8 Rob Valetini
9 Joe Powell
10 Wharenui Hawera
11 Andy Muirhead
12 Christian Lealiifano
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Henry Speight
15 Thomas Banks


16 Robbie Abel
17 Faalelei Sione
18 Ben Alexander
19 Blake Enever
20 Lolo Fakaosilea
21 Matt Lucas
22 Jordan Jackson-Hope
23 Lausii Taliauli


1 Fereti Sa’aga
2 Anaru Rangi
3 Sam Talakai
4 Geoff Parling
5 Adam Coleman
6 Angus Cottrell
7 Colby Fainga’a
8 Amanaki Mafi
9 Michael Ruru
10 Jack Debreczeni
11 Marika Koroibete
12 Reece Hodge
13 Tom English
14 Semisi Tupou
15 Jack Maddocks

16 Nathan Charles
17 Tetera Faulkner
18 Jermaine Ainsley
19 Matt Philip
20 Sam Jeffries
21 Lopeti Timani
22 Harrison Goddard
23 Bill Meakes


Date: Saturday, May 12

Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra

Kick-off: 19:45 AEDT

Referee: Nick Briant




ACT Brumbies

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