Preview: Brumbies v. Chiefs - Green and Gold Rugby
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Preview: Brumbies v. Chiefs

Preview: Brumbies v. Chiefs

The Brumbies have had an interesting week to say the least after a bout of mumps ran through the squad and management to throw another unwanted challenge for this week’s clash against the undefeated Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.

Despite the disruption, the Brumbies have been able to name a very competitive side for an important game before they have their first bye of the season.

The only player missing due to illness is Tom Wright with his position on the left wing taken by Andy Muirhead. Irae Simone who was a late withdrawal last week returns to the starting side at 12 and his presence will help Noah Lolesio after he was targeted by the Highlanders last week.

Rolling maul try expert Folau Fainga’a will be missing with a toe injury and that sees Connal McInerney step up to the starting and could see Lachlan Lonergan make his super rugby debut.

Don’t think the Brumbies will shelve that tactic with McInerney also proficient with a hat-trick of his own against the Sunwolves last year.

Bayley Kuenzle was also in the sick ward last week and he is back on the bench to provide some cover at 10. Former Chief Toni Pulu makes his first appearance in Brumbies colours in the regular season after easing his way back into the squad after the pre-season trial. Hopefully Pulu gets to stretch the legs and show his pace as one of the quickest in the squad.

The Brumbies have not beaten the Chiefs in Hamilton since 2007 although they only went down by five points on their last visit. The task won’t be any easier for them especially when Chiefs coach Warren Gatland can recall the likes of Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown to the starting side after being rested from the 43-17 win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

Getting a rest this week are scrum half Brad Weber, back rower Lachlan Boshier and winger Solomon Alaimalo as part of nine changes but as last week’s display has shown that anyone is capable of getting a start as they look to continue their hot start to the season.

The Brumbies will need to be on their game in the forwards and stop the Chiefs from using their potent backline and limiting the options of Aaron Cruden.

Their front row, armed with Wallabies James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa will more than hold their own and the backrow can more than match it with their opponents. The locks hold the key to this one with the combination of Cadeyrn Neville and Murray Douglas needing to add some muscle up against Mitchell Brown and Michael Allardice.

Key match ups

Tom Banks v. Damian McKenzie

Tom Banks has recovered from a nasty blow to his shoulder from Sio Tomkinson’s shoulder and will need to be on his toes to keep McKenzie quiet. Banks was solid under the high ball last week but will need to be wary of the Chiefs short kicking game, an area the Highlanders exploited last week.

If McKenzie can find open space it could be a long night for the Brumbies back three in general, especially with known speedster Sean Wainui waiting in the wings.

Will Miller v. Sam Cane

Miller moved away from the Waratahs for more game time and has found his way into the starting side with injury keeping Tom Cusack out. Miller has shown what he is capable of after taking his chance but will need to step it up another level against Sam Cane who is one of the craftiest in his position.


The Chiefs are flying high with a big win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo last week and welcome back the trio of Cane, Cruden and Lienert-Brown. The Chiefs were embarrassed 54-17 in Canberra last year and will be out for revenge.
Chiefs by 10 points.



1 James Slipper
2 Connal McInerney
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Cadeyrn Neville
5 Murray Douglas
6 Rob Valetini
7 Will Miller
8 Pete Samu
9 Joe Powell
10 Noah Lolesio
11 Andy Muirhead
12 Irae Simone
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Solomone Kata
15 Tom Banks

16 Lachlan Lonergan
17 Scott Sio
18 Tom Ross
19 Nick Frost
20 Lachlan McCaffrey
21 Ryan Lonergan
22 Bayley Kuenzle
23 Toni Pulu


1 Aidan Ross
2 Bradley Slater
3 Atu Moli
4 Michael Allardice
5 Mitchell Brown
6 Luke Jacobson
7 Sam Cane
8 Pita Gus Sowakula
9 Te Toira Tahuriorangi
10 Aaron Cruden
11 Sam McNicol
12 Alex Nankivell
13 Anton Lienert-Brown
14 Sean Wainui
15 Damian Mckenzie

16 Samson Taukei’aho
17 Reuben O’Neill
18 Ross Geldenhuys
19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20 Mitchell Karpik
21 Lisati Milo-Harris
22 Kaleb Trask
23 Quinn Tupaea


Kick off: 5:05pm AEDT, The ‘Tron
Referee: Brendaon Pickerill
AR1: Mike Fraser
AR2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Glenn Newman

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Steve, yeah it’ll be a big ask for the Chiefs this week. Gatland has got the Chiefs humming and the only real hope is that they switch off a bit for a non-NZ side. I’m hoping for a good display by DMac and for ALB to step up a bit more as he’s been a bit quiet so far this year.
    I like Lolesio and I don’t think he was as bad last week as people have been saying. He definitely learnt a lesson and if he takes it on board he’ll be a much better player for it.
    I still think it’ll be a step to far and I’m backing your pick on this one

  • Nutta

    Cheers Steve. Looking at the basics, I expect the Donkey’s to have a better scrum and a better lineout. That’s not the match, but it’s a damn good start. Miller v Cane will be a cracker both in themselves but also in how they work with their colleagues and how they manage the Refs expectations of the breakdown. Miller seems a bit more of a solo operator whereas Cane works in tighter tandem with his support. Lolesio will learn and will do well with a more confident Simone next to him. However for me this match is more in the head. The side who stays focussed longer will win and as recent history taught us, Kiwi teams and especially Gatland teams hold structure and nerve whereas the Ockers and particularly the Donkeys tend to drift and become robotic particularly between 352-40min and the 60-70min marks.

    • Brumby Runner

      I think the Miller/Cane contest will be one way street. Cane much too good all round player and likely MOTM. The contest overall will go to the Chiefs but closer than the difference between the two 7s.

      • Nutta

        Sam Cane is a >50test All Black. Plus he also works with his backrow as a unit whereas Will just seems to pop up and pull Ninja shite at random times. No doubt Cane should urinate from lofty elevation on Miller. But given Millers near indestructibility I think watching him vs the much more accomplished opponent will be fascinating.

      • Steve

        I trust that McKellar knows what he’s doing with the backrow, but it’s so easy to forget that he still has Jahrome Brown out of the squad and McCaffrey on the bench.

        Brown was so good when called on last year, and with so many of the backrow able to play two positions it’s really tough to know what the best combination is. I’m still not convinced that Brown for Miller might not be better.

        Or even Samu/Brown/McCaff 6/7/8.

    • Reds Revival

      I think the Rugby Report Card boys said it well when they mentioned that the Chiefs weaknesses are the Brumbies strength. I think the Brums will push them more than most people expect, especially with Simone back in the team, but the Chiefs will be too clinical in the end. I hope McCaffrey gets a good run on the field.

  • John Tynan

    Ha! “Tom Banks has recovered from a nasty blow to his shoulder “

  • Keith Butler

    Really good to see Cadeyrn Neville getting some game time the Rebs were mugs to let him go. I’d take a win in Hamilton even if it came from rolling mauls. Will be a tough one though.

  • Mica

    Really rate Alex Nankivell and wouldn’t be surprised if he has a big influence on the outcome. Between him, ALB and DMac there could be some serious midfield headaches for the Brumbies. TK is going to need to be at his defensive best and will need Irae Simone and young Lolesio to provide able support to stop it getting ugly.

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