ACT Brumbies

Preview: Waratahs v Brumbies

Preview: Waratahs v Brumbies

Whilst it’s certain that the Wallabies were celebrating last Saturday night after their 3-nil series whitewash over France you can guarantee the party was short lived. Monday morning meant back to Super Rugby training in preparation for the last three rounds of the regular season and the finals.

The test break did the Brumbies no favours on the injury front with Stephen Moore gone for the year after tearing his ACL and Sam Carter, Matt Toomua, and Pat McCabe all out for at least this week. Additional injuries to non-test players during club rugby and training have only exacerbated the problem.

Both teams are finely poised on the competition ladder. The Tahs know that three wins could see them win the minor premiership whilst only one loss could mean third place and no week off before the finals.

The Brumbies only have two games left and know that the only way they guarantee a spot in the finals is by winning both of them. A tall order with so many injuries, but they’ll be playing like their lives depend on it.

The Teams

Despite the injuries, the Brumbies still boast a formidable lineup. After missing the test series with a neck complaint, Ben Alexander is back to anchor the scrum and he’ll be crucial to the Brumbies chances. Prop turned hooker Ruaidhri Murphy will be hoping to fix his wonky lineout throwing from the Singapore 10s competition last weekend but the cupboard was nearly bare after 3rd string hooker Josh Mann-Rae injured himself in a club rugby game.

Christian Leali’ifano will be excited to wear the 10 jersey for the first time since early last season but he won’t be used to seeing Robbie Coleman outside him at inside centre. Coleman’s shift to the midfield means Clyde Rathbone is back in the starting side on the wing.

For the Waratahs, Michael Cheika has kept Will Skelton up his sleeve with Jacques Potgieter and Kane Douglas starting at lock. After a strong test series, Sekope Kepu starts at tight head to face off against Scott Sio.

The backline remains unchanged from a month ago against the Chiefs although Alofa Alofa has been under an injury cloud this week.

The Matchups

The battle of the Ben(n)s in the front row is sure to be a beauty. Benn Robinson ties Al Baxter to become the equal second most capped Waratah  with 130 games for the club. After watching the June tests from the couch, Robbo will be itching to put in a big game to make his 130th one to remember. With only a stellar finish to the season likely to earn him a Wallaby recall, he’ll leave nothing in the tank. The frequent Wallaby teammates have built up a fierce rivalry in interstate clashes in recent years including Ben Alexander leaving a mark to remember with his studs on Robbo’s thigh last season. There’s sure to be plenty of feeling between the two on Saturday night!


Benn Robinson will be hoping his 130th Waratah game is one to remember.


At the back of the scrum, Ben Mowen faces a fierce battle against Wycliff Palu. Palu’s performance last week against Les Bleus was right up there with the very best of his 51 test career and he’ll be looking to repeat that this week. Whoever does a better job of getting their team over the advantage line could play a big part in the outcome of the game.

The matchup between Adam Ashley-Cooper and Tevita Kuridrani will be watched with interest. Currently a shortage of wingers means the Wallabies are happy playing AAC on the wing with Kuridrani retaining the outside centre jersey. Later in the year, the availability of Henry Speight could force Ewen McKenzie to pick who he likes more at 13. With both possessing excellent defensive skills it’s certain that neither will find it easy to make a break.

brumbies vs hurricanes 2013 kuridrani

Tevita Kuridrani will know that chances will be hard to come by against Adam Ashley-Cooper

Fearless Prediction

With such an injury toll it’s tough to see the Brumbies getting up over the full strength Waratahs. The Tahs will be keen to reverse the disappointing loss they recorded in Canberra earlier in the year when the Brumbies played them out of the game in the first half. Both teams will know that a slip up in the next couple of weeks could quickly erase all the good work they put in prior to the test break and the forward battle is sure to be intense. If they maintain their trademark aggression (c. 2014) the Tahs will be too strong. Waratahs by 10.


Benn Robinson1Scott Sio
Tatafu Polota-Nau2Ruaidhri Murphy
Sekope Kepu3Ben Alexander
Jacques Potgieter4Scott Fardy
Kane Douglas5Leon Power
Dave Dennis (c)6Jordan Smiler
Michael Hooper7Jarrad Butler
Wycliff Palu8Ben Mowen (c)
Nick Phipps9Nic White
Bernard Foley10Christian Lealiifano
Rob Horne11Clyde Rathbone
Kurtley Beale12Robbie Coleman
Adam Ashley-Cooper13Tevita Kuridrani
Alofa Alofa14Henry Speight
Israel Folau15Jesse Mogg
Tolu Latu16Luke Holmes
Jeremy Tilse17JP Smith
Paddy Ryan18Ruan Smith
Will Skelton19Fotu Auelua
Stephen Hoiles20Jack Whetton
Brendan McKibbin21Michael Dowsett
Jono Lance22TBA
Taqele Naiyaravoro/Cam Crawford23Lionel Cronje
Location:ANZ StadiumSydney
Kickoff:Sat 28 Jun 19:40
Referee:Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 1:Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 2:Ian Smith
TMO :Peter Marshall


ACT Brumbies

Too much sport is never enough. Go the Waratahs!

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