Preview: Brumbies v Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
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Preview: Brumbies v Rebels

Preview: Brumbies v Rebels

The Brumbies can look to wrap up the Aussie conference when they take on the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night.

The Brumbies have returned from their two-match tour against the Kings and Jaguares with nine competition points and ended a disappointing run of four consecutive losses to put some space between themselves and the chasing Waratahs.

Despite their positions on the conference ladder, this won’t be a game the Brumbies take lightly. The Rebels have been somewhat of a bogey side for them and you only have to look at the corresponding fixture earlier this year when the Rebels claimed their only win of the year to stun the Brumbies on the back of defensive pressure despite being outscored three tries to one.

This match was to have marked Ben Alexander’s 143rd Super Rugby game for the Brumbies and pass the legendary George Smith but those celebrations have had to be put on ice after Alexander suffered a knee injury in training during the week.

The injury means the Brumbies have had to make one change to the starting side with Nic Mayhew taking Alexander’s position at loose head, which has put an end to the unchanged side policy that had served them well over the past two weeks.

The other two changes are on the bench with Tom Staniforth and Nigel Ah Wong coming in for Blake Enever and Andrew Smith respectively.

The Rebels have made five changes to their side with a couple of positional changes in the make up of the team. They welcome back Lopeti Timani from a head knock that saw him miss the Crusaders match and his presence in the tight five will be vital. The other players returning to the starting side are Hugh Sinclair and Mitch Inman.

IN the backs, Ben Volavola and Reece Hodge have moved positions with Volavola named at fly half and Hodge fullback where his kicking is likely to be a key part of this game.

The Brumbies showed they can mix up their attack with five of their six tries last week going to the backs and will be looking for more of the same to get around a Rebels defence that has had it’s challenges in 2017 but wasn’t as bad as people expected against the Crusaders but they could be in for another busy night defensively.

MATCHUPS

Allan Alaalatoa v Toby Smith

With the Wallabies due to kick off the Test season against Fiji next week in Melbourne, this matchup should give Michael Cheika a good look at who could take over from the injured Scott Sio in that Test. Alaalatoa had a good tour against some big forward packs and came away with man of the match honours in the Kings game.

Henry Speight v Marika Koroibete

Same deal with these two with a number of options for Cheika to choose from for the back three in Wallabies colours. Speight leads the try scoring for the Brumbies with seven in 2017 including one last week and is in good form. Koroibete has snagged four tries for the Rebels and has been one of their better performing players in a difficult season.

PREDICTION

I think it will be closer than most people expect. The Brumbies are coming off a big travel week and are up against a side they have struggled against at times but they should still get the win.

TEAMS


BRUMBIES

1. Nic Mayhew
2. Josh Mann-Rea
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Sam Carter (C)
6. Scott Fardy
7. Chris Alcock
8. Jordan Smiler
9. Joe Powell
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Aidan Toua
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Tom Banks

Reserves
16. Robbie Abel
17. Faalelei Sione
18. Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin
19. Tom Staniforth
20. Jarrad Butler
21. De Wet Roos
22. Andrew Muirhead
23. Nigel Ah Wong


REBELS

1. Toby Smith
2. James Hanson
3. Tyrel Lomax
4. Steve Cummins
5. Lopeti Timani
6. Hugh Sinclair
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Amanaki Mafi
9. Nic Stirzaker (c)
10. Ben Volavola
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Mitch Inman
13. Tom English
14. Sefa Naivalu
15. Reece Hodge

Reserves
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Cruze Ah-Nau
18. Laurie Weeks
19. Culum Retallick
20. Will Miller
21. Ben Meehan
22. Jackson Garden-Bachop
23. Jonah Placid

  • Keith Butler

    Not a lot of interest in this one judging by the zero comments so I’ll start the ball rolling (very slowly). Decent team on paper for the Rebels. Expected to see LT back at lock as Retallick hasn’t really been cutting it. Nice balance in the back row with Mafi and LT being our go forward guys and Colby our groundhog. May well be a close contest but I can only see one result, a win for the Brumbies.

  • Bobas

    I really hope the brumbies employ the flat backline as plan a.
    Stirzaker better hopes if he only gets one hand in the passing lane he actually takes the catch.

ACT Brumbies
@steve_l15

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

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