Preview: Brumbies v. Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Preview: Brumbies v. Reds

Preview: Brumbies v. Reds

The Brumbies and Reds face off in Canberra for the second time in 2018 with the Brumbies needing a win to keep in touch of their conference rivals.

With a record of two wins and three losses, the Brumbies season is slowly slipping away from them but it’s not quite last chance saloon stuff, yet.

After going down the Waratahs by seven points last week, Dan McKellar has made three changes to his side, all in the backs. Matt Lucas gets a start at scrum half and comes up against his brother, Ben. Last week’s try scorer Lausii Taliauli is out of the 23 and replaced by Chance Peni who will be looking to regain some form. At fullback, Tom Banks replaces Andrew Muirhead who is also out of the 23.

Amongst the reserves, Sam Carter is back after a slower than expected return following concussion in the Rebels game. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin also returns and there is a potential Brumbies debut for James Verity-Amm who could be a handful if given the chance.

If the Brumbies are to get the badly needed win, there are number of things to work on and will have to be smarter with the ball. They played ok for about 30-35 minutes last week before a try either side of half time brought them undone and then had to play deep in their own half for the majority of the second half.

The Reds roll into town off the back of a well-deserved bye after their Magical mystery tour of Buenos Aires, London and Cape Town. They have the knowledge of what it takes to beat the Brumbies after they did so back in round three in Brisbane as they ground out a hard fought win.

Coach Brad Thorn has made changes to the starting side with Scott Higginbotham back at number 8 after returning in the Stormers game from the bench following a three-week suspension. His inclusion sees Caleb Timu move to blindside in place of Angus Scott-Young. Bordeaux bound Eto Nabuli is back on the left wing so Chris Feauai-Sautia is back at outside centre with Duncan Paia’aua out of the 23.

After the Reds forwards attacked the Brumbies pack and came out well on top in the last match, it’s no surprise where they will aim their focus this week. Thorn has a number of players from the Queensland Country side that won the 2017 NRC title in Canberra so his side won’t have any trouble playing in front of opposition fans but as has been the case this season, a win is a win and Thorn won’t have problems on how they do it, probably with Taniela Tupou running in the wide channels.

*EDIT* Henry Speight has been ruled out after failing a fitness test with James Dargaville taking his place on the wing.

Match ups

Kuridrani vs Kerevi

Tevita Kuridrani has had a very quiet start to the season and well below his best. Has only scored one lucky try against the Sunwolves after their scrum half passed the ball into the goal post pad for him to pounce on but with the Irish series about two months away, he will have to start performing or Kerevi could well overtake him and will have a lot to prove in what will be his 50th Super Rugby match.

Lucas v Lucas

You normally expect plenty of chat from both scrum halves but there could be a lot more as the Lucas brothers bring the backyard battles into Super Rugby. As a famous TV character once said, ‘it’s your child versus mine. The winner will be showered with praise and the loser will be taunted and booed’.


The Reds have surprised a few with their tough as nails game plan so far but will be interesting to see if the Brumbies have learnt from their loss in Brisbane and not get ambushed by a relatively young and enthusiastic side. Reds by 1.



1. Scott Sio
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Blake Enever
6. Lachlan McCaffrey
7. David Pocock
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Matt Lucas
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Chance Peni
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. James Dargaville
15. Tom Banks

16. Robbie Abel
17. Faalelei Sione
18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin
19. Sam Carter
20. Tom Cusack
21. Joe Powell
22. Kyle Godwin
23. James Verity-Amm


1. James Slipper
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Izack Rodda
5. Kane Douglas
6. Caleb Timu
7. Adam Korczyk
8. Scott Higginbotham
9. Ben Lucas
10. Jono Lance
11. Eto Nabuli
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia
14. Filipo Daugunu
15. Aidan Toua

16. Alex Mafi
17. JP Smith
18. Ruan Smith
19. Lukhan Tui
20. Liam Wright
21. James Tuttle
22. Hamish Stewart
23. Jordan Petaia


Match Deets
Kick off: 7:45pm AEST
Saturday 7 April
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
AR1: Nick Briant
AR2: James Leckie
TMO: George Ayoub

  • Reds to win with a bonus point for try’s playing their new expansive, spread it wide at all costs style!

    • Bobas

      Reds will get a bonus point. Won’t be for tries though.

      • Mica

        LOL. Touche Bobas. Touche

  • Andrew

    KURIDRANI VS KEREVI isn’t a match up, it is Lealiifano v Kerevi and Kuridrani v Feauai-Sautia, both of which are an equaly salivating prospect.

    • Bobas

      Are you kidding? He missed the Les Makin v JP Smith match up. Which is more important, making your comment meaningless at best.

      • If only it was Richie & Rory Arnold vs JP & Ruan Smith…

        • Bobas

          Folau Fiangaa v Anthony, Saia, Colby and regular Folau.

      • Andrew

        I’ll tune in at the +60min mark to view the scintillating match-up.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! Well, like another former Queenslander “Big Kev” I am excited. This is going to be a tought match. BL’s Points in no particular order:
    – Always be wary of a team that are coming off a beating. The Ponies thought they could win the match against the Waratarts, and didnt. they got burned. So they are going to come back, and hard!
    – Reds will have to be diciplined and protect the pill at the breakdown because the master “jackal” is back in town. Poey had a blinder last week, and will get better with each game.
    – I think the Reds forward pack should overwhelm the Ponies at the set piece.
    – Reds backs arent yet quite as expansive and dynamic as they could be, but they are improving.
    – This game will be attritionalist, trench warfare. But will be hard and enjoyable, provided the handling errors are erased from both teams games.
    I am looking forward to this one. I am cracking out the 16 Year Old Lagavulin for this one!
    Reds by 1. Over to you GAGR’s.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good morning mate, A nice one to relax with. I’m not sure relaxing will be on as I think this match is going to be quite tense and will go to the wire. For me the biggest focus for the Reds needs to be on Lucas getting the ball out to Lance as fast as possible. I’ve been disappointed at the slow lumbering service of Tuttle over the last couple of weeks and I hope Lucas is up to it. A couple of things I think need to be also addressed:
      – Tupo needs to step back from the intensity and focus on the game. I think he still needs to mature a bit and perhaps not read so much hype. Showing more promise this year but if I was the Ponies I’d rile him up as I think he’s susceptible to that.
      – Kuridrani and Speight will have realised that this is almost their last chance to get into selection mode for the Wallabies. Both have been playing crap and I think they’ll be hungry for work. Reds need to close them down fast.
      – The reds need to pressure Ruru. He showed last week that he doesn’t handle this well and if he’s pressured triple L and the rest of the backline won’t work that well.

      Reds by 8

      • Brisneyland Local

        Wow by 8! You have more confidence than me.
        Really good points you have raised. Quick ball isnt everything, but it is most things. You are very much right about Lance getting quick ball, lets hope it happens.
        On THor, I think you are right, and I hope BT has been in his ear about cold rage, not hot rage. i.e. remaining ice cold.
        The Fijian double from the Ponies are in a bit of trouble. They are hungry for the ball, but are not seeking the opportunities or reading the place well enought o position themselves to make opportunities. Kerevi on the other hand seems to be getting better each game after a slow start.
        This will be a good game. I love rugby season!

        • Happyman

          Don’t we all BL. The Reds seem to be playing better each week and it will be interesting to see what the bye did for them.
          The Reds seem to have had a great run with injury and with the rotation policy of players I think we are seeing a bit of the European influence in BT’s philosophy. Link was the same having.
          The Ponies just don’t seem to know who they are at the moment but they will figure it out they are a proud province.

          Good luck to both teams REDS by 12

        • Brisneyland Local

          WOW by 12. Mate the only reason I am saying by 1 is to not get my hopes up and get let down again. The Reds habitually snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

        • Happyman

          Mate it is a victory of hope over experience. I do however feel they are building nicely.

          I like you have not renewed this year due to the ineptitude of the QRU the reds are still my only team but I don’t trust them.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Very well said Happyman! Thanks for the support. Go the Reds!

      • Brumby Runner

        Ruru? Plays for the Rebels. Who do you mean? Hawera? Sorry, but it’s not really clear from the context of your comment.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry yes Hawera. I sometimes forget which NZ reject is playing for which team here :-)

        • Bobas

          That prop that made Robertson look good (Ta’avow or something) was my personal fav.

        • Mica

          Ironically Ta’avao is playing much better now he is with the Chiefs.

        • Bobas

          same with Dean Mumm, he captained them to a premiership.

        • Bernie Chan


      • Mica

        Did you see Ben Lucas at Newlands?
        Worst scrumhalf service I have seen in a long time (yes including what Phipps dishes up).
        The Reds looked much better when young McDermott came on.
        Thorny must see something though as he has selected Lucas for this one and McDermott isn’t on the bench.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I think this is the Reds weakest point

    • Mica

      Quality single malt that!! Enjoy!
      I might damage the bottle of Ardbeg I have as a sign of solidarity BLL. :)

      • Brisneyland Local

        Love your work.

    • onlinesideline

      With Tui on that is one big motherfreaking pack and the Smith bros on for some late in the day scrum popping. Im pumped. The Reds are doing for me this year.

      Its about this time in the comp when handling errors start to fade and teams start to hit their straps.

      Reds by 12 – this will be the uptick game that will propel the Reds onwards and upwards this season. Thorn is the real deal for mine. You have to call it before it happens and Im calling a good run of wins for the Reds starting now.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am hoping not calling. I will remain however quietly optimitic! But hoots points to you for hanging it out there.

        • onlinesideline


    • Bernie Chan

      Go for the Clonakilla Shiraz-Viogner for dinner (comes from Murrumbatemen down Canberra way…) before the glorious single malt!
      See DPA is out altogether…do we expect a lot of “straight running” from our centres then? Though both Kerevi & CFS can do more than “bash it up” it is a question of the game plan and how Lance moves the ball. Korczyk will have a torrid time keeping that “jackal” at bay…but the Reds backrow looks nicely balanced (would have been nice to see a fully fit Smith v Pocock stoush…). Ben Lucas at scrumhalf is interesting…quality player but has perhaps been selected for his versatility? I’d like to see Sorovi get a run as he has the best pass and is the fastest of foot..maybe a bit too loose for BT at this stage? Reds set piece will dominate…BT will be relishing scrum time! Put L.Tui on for Douglas and that is one powerful 8…Reds by half a point would do…

  • Bobas

    I can’t wait to watch the Lucus boys fight for their parents love.
    (I hope the stadium lights guy is on the ball)

  • onlinesideline

    this is going to be a cracker – btw scott-young’s efforts were good – good tackler, huge future IMO

  • Brumby Runner

    Sorry to see Powell dropped for Lucas. Matt made the single most deleterious decision in last week’s game when he kicked away possession immediately after a turnover late in the game, with a set backline and the Tahs’ defense going backwards. He will need to sharpen up his vision or he will again deprive the team of good scoring opportunities.

    Am also not impressed with Taliauli being dropped. He was the only player last week to actually chase and contest for the high ball. Without that contest, every Brumbies’ kick simply becomes a turnover for the opposition.

    • Fatflanker

      Speight’s got some work to do. Hope he puts last week behind him.

    • Mica

      Mate I couldn’t agree more. I thought Taliauli was impressive on the wing and was surprised he was dropped. Looks like he has bags of potential and is in pretty good form. Like you say his attitude looks in good order judging by his willingness to chase kicks – this is always a good indicator as far as I am concerned.

  • Hoss

    Bucking the trend here for all you Banana-benders.

    Brumbies will play smarter and finally play to potential. The impact of Pocock, second week back to be a big difference.

    The bye can be equal measures blessing and curse ad i expect a wee bit of rust from the young reds.

    Kurindrani & Speight to have large games, Poey to be MOTM – Ponies by 9

    • onlinesideline

      One side of me sees where you are coming from, BUT im not convinced the smarts are there as much as you like to believe. Are you sure smarts of the brumbies from previous years are not influencing you somewhat ? Are they still that clever side ? The Reds are not stupid either and I reckon are growing every week. With Higgers and Tui back Im tipping the Reds. Will be damn interesting.

      • Hoss

        Maybe mate – i guess i am basing it on the Ponies finally gelling and putting on a performance to match abilities. But your right, theres very little evident from the ACT boys to suggest its coming – apart from a steely silence out of there this week, maybe a few seething individuals ready to hurt the Reds.

        As a Tah’s fan i hope they bash each other and its a draw…………….

        • idiot savant

          I tend to agree Hoss. The Brumbies will know if they dont bring it this week, they’re only pretenders. I think the combination of their increased intensity and the often reduced intensity sides show after a bye shifts the balance in the Brums favour.

          Interesting choice from Thorn picking an 18 year old outside back on the bench. Does this mean Thorn will throw caution to the wind in the second half and bring Stewart on standing deep to try and use the speed that Petaia, Toua, and Daugunu have? It was after all running at speed from depth which won the Tahs the game against the Brums last week.

        • onlinesideline

          this is why I am liking Thorn so much. Cheika should watch and learn.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      haven’t shown a lot of smarts so far this year mate and it’s a bit optimistic to see it all coming back in one week. The Bye rust is an issue as is the influence of Pocock for the Reds. TBH I don’t really mind who wins this but I think I have a bit of a soft spot for the Reds with Thorn in charge.

    • McWarren

      I suspect your right Hoss. I also wouldn’t be too disappointed with 9 point loss considering some of the hammering we’ve had in Canberra. This Reds team has potential but it lacks a Pocock/Gill game changer in the forwards. The team is young and heading in the right direction to win the comp next year.

      In saying all that, I’ll see your 9 and raise you 10. Reds by 1.

  • MST

    Speight out with knee soreness. Dargaville now starting with Verity -Am off the bench.

    Cue the Shiggins!

    • Bobas


    • This is strange. Verity Am was rated above Dargaville and now he’s rated behind. Not a lot of sense in that.

  • Adrian

    Last I saw, it was a 4.5 start to Reds.

    Both teams don’t have anyone creative enough to set up others at 9,10,12,13, but Reds have Kerevi at 12 who can crash through.

    I can’t see Reds being smashed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Brums win by 3 on the back of slightly better goal kicking

    • McWarren

      Lealiifano isn’t creative? Did you see the pass Lance through for Timu’s try? Okay there is no Larkham, Genia, Carter or Sexton playing but I think your underestimating the guys selected this week.

  • Adsa

    The prospect of seeing the Reds complete a hatrick against the ponies is making me nervous, too many nightmares come back from the Reds of old where they would clutch defeat from the jaws of victory and leave me a shattered and drunken mess. Please win Reds.

  • Custard Taht

    With the Brumbies fielding both a Folau and a Christian; I can see a Christian Folau led Brumbies resurrection, which will end with the Reds going to hell.

    • Ivan Nel

      where there will be a lot of gay touching.

    • Merrow

      Wow! Prophetic :)

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