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

Preview: Brumbies v. Reds

Preview: Brumbies v. Reds

It’s the last round of the regular season and the Brumbies welcome the Reds to Canberra with the Brumbies looking to make amends for their showing in Brisbane earlier in the year where the Reds ran out comfortable winners.

The Brumbies have sewn up top spot in the Aussie conference and there was talk about some players being rested before the finals but coach Dan McKellar has made minimal changes as they chase six consecutive wins for the first time since 2007 and with it, all important momentum into the finals.

The home side know they didn’t have their greatest game in Brisbane where their main weapons were nullified by a hungry Reds pack that were more than up to the task. Not helping that day was the 35 degrees at kick off and there’s no risk of similar conditions at kick off with it more likely to be 3.5.

But since then the Brumbies pack has picked up their game with the set piece becoming a source of penalties before going to their rolling maul where they have tried to mix things up. Their backline has also done their work with their strike weapon, the newly re-signed Tevita Kuridrani in top form.

The rotation system in the front row that has worked well in 2019 continues with Scott Sio swapping with James Slipper as Sio runs out for his 100th match in a special game as the Brumbies celebrate Pasifika round.

The other position where they have the luxury of swapping players is in the backrow and this week sees a different combination of Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown and Lachie McCaffrey.

There’s only one change in the backline with Tom Wright coming in on the left wing in place of Toni Pulu and there have been a few changes on the bench with Murray Douglas into the forwards and a whole new backs bench contingent of Ryan Lonergan, Jordan Jackson-Hope and Len Ikitau.

The Reds are coming off a good come from behind win over Auckland last week that snapped a five match losing streak in the last home game for a host of players including Scott Higginbotham and Samu Kerevi. Whether or not they can get up for another emotional game remains to be seen but the Reds do have a good recent record against the Brumbies having won three of the last four and lead early in the corresponding fixture last year before being run down.

Brad Thorn has made a few changes to the starting side in the forwards as they look to take it to the Brumbies forwards. Harry Hockings is back in at lock and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is back at number 6 after his Wallabies enforced rest. Scott Higginbotham drops back to the bench with Angus Scott-Young looking to make a fist of it at number 8.

Thorn has given a vote of confidence to the backline and stuck with Matt McGahan at ten and Scott Malolua at scrum half with Tate McDermott unable to overcome his ankle injury.

Key match ups

Scott Sio/James Slipper v. Taniela Tupou

The Brumbies front row has been in good form recently and even mentioned as the potential Test starting Trio. The double team of Sio and Slipper at loosehead will mean Tupou will have his work cut out for him in an area both teams will look to target.

Rory Arnold v Izack Rodda

Arnold has been in impressive form of late as has Izack Rodda so this will be a good matchup. Rodda’s form and partnering with more inexperienced partners Hockings and Blyth in 2019 has him lined up to be one half of the Wallabies locking pair with the other spot up for grabs. Arnold’s lineout work where he leads the comp with takes, combined with his maul work has been integral to the Brumbies forwards success this season.


Even with this being the last game of the season for the Reds there is little chance they will roll over easily, especially with Brad Thorn in charge. He has brought a number of this current team here in the past with Queensland Country and tasted success.

Dan McKellar will be looking to keep the winning momentum rolling for the Brumbies as they head towards a home quarter final next week.

This will be a big game for the forwards and the scrum battle will be one to watch and whoever gets on top likely to determine the winner.
It will be close but Brumbies to edge it by 7.



1 Scott Sio
2 Folau Fainga’a
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Rory Arnold
5 Sam Carter
6 Rob Valetini
7 Jahrome Brown
8 Lachlan McCaffrey
9 Joe Powell
10 Christian Lealiifano
11 Tom Wright
12 Irae Simone
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Andy Muirhead
15 Tom Banks

16 Connal McInerney
17 James Slipper
18 Leslie Leulua’ialii-Makin
19 Murray Douglas
20 Pete Samu
21 Ryan Lonergan
22 Jordan Jackson-Hope
23 Len Ikitau


1 JP Smith
2 Alex Mafi
3 Taniela Tupou
4 Izack Rodda
5 Harry Hockings
6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
7 Liam Wright
8 Angus Scott-Young
9 Scott Malolua
10 Matt McGahan
11 Filipo Daugunu
12 Samu Kerevi
13 Chris Feauai-Sautia
14 Jock Campbell
15 Bryce Hegarty

16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa
17 Ruan Smith
18 Gav Luka
19 Caleb Timu
20 Scott Higginbotham
21 Moses Sorovi
22 Duncan Paia’aua
23 Sefa Naivalu


Kick off: 7:45pm AEST
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Saturday 15 June
Referee: Paul Williams
AR1: Ben O’Keeffe
AR2: Graham Cooper
TMO: James Leckie

  • sambo6

    Are the reds losing Hegarty next year? I cant recall.

    If they are, then BT could do worse than picking up the phone to Debrezcini

    • Jason

      Matt McGahan has actually looked pretty decent and Isaac Lucas could be an option too. Also don’t forget Hamish Stewart…

      • sambo6

        I’d prefer to forget Hamish Stewart to be honest.

  • sambo6

    Much as I’m a dyed in the wool Reds fan, and would usually be parochial enough to prefer the Reds over the wider Australian rugby (yes, yes, im part of the problem), this weekend I actually want our best performing Super side to continue their strong form – and am hoping for a slick Brumbies win.

    The one thing we are all getting positive about is the form of the Brumbies – its a ray of hope. If the Reds win and the Brumbies look ordinary, then once again the quality of Aussie rugby in general and Brumbies place in the finals will be questioned….if they are the real deal, they should clean up this Reds side.

    Similarly, if the Reds win, then will that paper over the cracks and convince some people that the Reds are ‘rebuilding/on the right path/heading in the right direction? in a year that (to my mind) has not been better than last year in any meaningful way whatsoever.

    • Steve

      Agreed sambo.

      Waratahs and Rebels have embarrassed themselves and that breeds negativity about the game as a whole in the country.

      If the Brumbies can’t separate themselves (and I think the Reds have given a decent account of themselves this year unlike the other two) then fans will take little hope into RWC.

      The game really needs a smooth Brumbies win.

    • Jason

      I want the Brumbies to lose a close one, just to see the Reds end up above the Waratahs on the ladder — even a draw would see the Reds end up being able to lord it over the ‘million dollar backline’.

      • IIPA

        Hey Jason are you talking about the Rebels? I see a Waratahs backline with a mid 30s AAC and names like Foketi, Clark, Rona and Newsome.

    • From NooZealand

      And you had your wish delivered.

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