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

Preview: Brumbies v. Reds

The Brumbies and Reds kick off proceedings in the Aussie Conference for 2020 in Canberra on Friday in what will be a tricky encounter with heat wave conditions forecast for the day of the game.

With the earliest start to a season in Super Rugby history, both teams will have to contend with a 40 degree plus day in what will feel like an extension of pre-season conditions for both sides.

There has been plenty to get excited about for this opening game with the Reds coming off formidable trial form with two wins over the Rebels and Waratahs while the Brumbies only had the one trial where they eventually ran out comfortable winners over the Rebels.

Following the World Cup there is always movement of players and the Brumbies have had a decent turnover in terms of starting players with names like Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano and Henry Speight all having left the Capital with Speight heading to the Reds.

The Brumbies search to replace Lealiifano in the ten jersey was a close run race with Noah Lolesio and Bayley Kuenzle doing their best in NRC and pre-season to show Dan McKellar they can step up to Super Rugby level with Lolesio given the nod to start and Kuenzle among the substitutions.

Another newcomer to the Brumbies backline is former NRL player Solomone Kata and had shown impressive form to beat out the likes of Andy Muirhead and Toni Pulu to take his place on the right wing and will come up against Henry Speight.

Despite the loss of the 2019 locking combination, the Brumbies have been able to call on up and comer Darcy Swain and the experienced Murray Douglas. They have a relatively settled forward pack and will look to their strength of the front row of Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a and new captain, Allan Alaalatoa. They also have depth in the backrow, which has also been a strength, with Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack and Pete Samu starting and new recruit Will Miller on the bench alongside Cadeyrn Neville.

On the other hand, the Reds have had the least disruption of the two sides in terms of starting departures, however, gone is their wrecking ball in Samu Kerevi but they have been able to replace him with James O’Connor whose partnership with Jordan Petaia in midfield has Reds fans salivating, as long as he can stay on the field and out of team rehab.

The halfback combination of Tate McDermott and Isaac Lucas will be hoping their pack can get some front foot ball and recreate their trial form and keep the Brumbies defence on their toes with Henry Speight and Jock Campbell on the wings and the ever reliable boot of Bryce Hegarty at fullback.

The pack contains a mixture of experienced and exciting young players including Harry Wilson at number eight after a strong NRC campaign where he snagged the rising star award. Liam Wright has been handed the captaincy but certainly won’t look out of place in that role and leads a pack that has a front row of JP Smith, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Taniela Tupou. The lock combo is Angus Blyth and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, starting ahead of Izack Rodda after returning from off-season ankle surgery and takes his place on the bench.

Key match ups

Front Row

The Brumbies have always relied on their forward pack and the trio of Sio, Fainga’a and Alaalatoa will have to use all their experience to help out their less experienced backline to secure the win.

The Reds have also been solid in this department, and led by Taniela Tupou they can more than match their opponents and it could come down to the bench props towards the back end of the game.

Kuridrani v. Petaia

Tevita Kuridrani had a pretty solid 2019 for the Brumbies but seemed to be forgotten when it came to national selection and couldn’t get a combination going with Samu Kerevi. He only started in three of the ten Tests and was overtaken in green and gold by James O’Connor and Jordan Petaia, when he was fit.

Everyone knows what Petaia can bring but he just needs to stay out of team rehab and get a consistent run of games going to help the Reds stay up the ladder in 2020.


It’s the first game of the season so you can only really look at how the respective teams went in the trials and that would show the Brumbies going in as massive underdogs..but hopefully they get the job done by less than a converted try.



1 Scott Sio
2 Folau Fainga’a
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Darcy Swain
5 Murray Douglas
6 Rob Valetini
7 Tom Cusack
8 Pete Samu
9 Joe Powell
10 Noah Lolesio
11 Tom Wright
12 Irae Simone
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Solomone Kata
15 Tom Banks

16 Connal McInerney
17 Harry Lloyd
18 James Slipper
19 Cadeyrn Neville
20 Will Miller
21 Ryan Lonergan
22 Bayley Kuenzle
23 Andy Muirhead


1 JP Smith
2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3 Taniela Tupou
4 Angus Blyth
5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
6 Angus Scott-Young
7 Liam Wright
8 Harry Wilson
9 Tate McDermott
10 Isaac Lucas
11 Henry Speight
12 James O’Connor
13 Jordan Petaia
14 Jock Campbell
15 Bryce Hegarty

16 Alex Mafi
17 Dane Zander
18 Feao Fotuaika
19 Izack Rodda
20 Seru Uru
21 Moses Sorovi
22 Hamish Stewart
23 Hunter Paisami


Kick off: 7:15pm AEDT
GIO Stadium Canberra
Referee: AJ Jacobs
AR1: Nic Berry
AR2: Graham Cooper
TMO: Ian Smith

  • How good is the anticipation before your teams first game of the season? This could be the Reds best season in five years or… Well let’s not think about the alternative. Let’s hope for a good showing from both sides and a Reds win to calm my dodgy ticker.

    • Kevino

      Agree, could be a new Reds or could be a failure and Thorn gets the boot, he can no longer use the excuse of rebuilding. His had two seasons of poor results, surely it’s finals football or the door for Thorn.

      I think it’s the latter by the way, has done nothing that really shows me the Reds are moving forward as yet.

  • Reds Revival

    Hi GAGGERs, After reading everyone’s posts for the last two seasons, I have finally decided to get out of the grandstand and join the action in the forum. I have weighed up whether to join this forum, or another well known rugby forum, but after reading the comments over time, this one seems to have the better participants who play the ball, and not the man.
    Like my moniker indicates, I am keen to see this season get under way as I think the Reds have a great chance this season. Given the somewhat brutal start to our season, we will get a good indication of what their chances will be like after the first three games! In fact, I would be kind of happy to have the smoke signals say that the game is off and we share the points. While I’m confident, I’m not arrogant against the Brumbies! Two points are better than none.

    • laurence king

      Welcome, I do believe that we have the best sense of humour and there are some very knowledgeable heads as well. Cheers

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Welcome aboard mate. Enjoy the ride

    • Geoffro

      Gday mate.As a Reds supporter you may be able to update on a couple of pretty good youngsters not on the teamsheet – McReight and Hockings.Both are future Wallabies in my eyes but fail to even make the bench.

      • Reds Revival

        Thanks for the welcome guys.
        Bock Hockings and McReight are injured at the moment. Hockings is not too far away, but McReight is still a few weeks (broken thumb).

    • Keith Butler

      Welcome to the Great and a Good. I reckon your Reds and Ponies will be fighting it out for the top spots with my Rebs struggling. A word of warning, watch out for the mighty pen of Hoss particularly if you have a hot drink in your hands. Keep a cloth handy!

    • Yowie

      Welcome. I was in a similar boat and started posting for similar reasons.

    • Simon

      Welcome! Many of us started our GAGR careers posting optimistically on a forecast Reds revival – let’s hope five years down the track you don’t follow the rest of us in getting more jaded with each passing season of renewed disappointment. :)

    • Nutta

      Welcome aboard. But I caution you to temper that enthusiasm Pad-Wan.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Steve, big ask for both teams and I think that the Brumbies have a better balanced pack that might just tip the scales their way. I’m hoping the JOC/Petaia combo clicks and if it does it could be very dangerous, but, and a big BUT, without good go forward ball they could struggle and I do like the Brumbies loosies. At home I’m picking Brumbies by 5.

    • idiot savant

      Im with you KARL. Thats a prediction that makes sense. Home ground advantage in round 1 often does the trick. South African ref will keep the set piece honest. The Brums are a quicker side with a better forward bench which I think will tell late in the game.

      • Nutta

        That may stick. KARL.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          It works

  • Jcr

    Well thank fuck that dull period is over , in my simple mind cricketers are just people not quite good enough to be tennis players and tennis is fine but…
    I’ve had fun teasing my sort of son in law about ending up with a participation prize only , great fun ! Took it well but he had the last laugh as my skybox blew up yesterday and unfortunately Sky are still training all their workers at the sheltered workshop and so I think I’ll have a go at repairing it myself.
    Anyway bring on tonight!

  • Hoss

    Good morning ladies and welcome to the big dance.

    Welcome RR, newcomers usually shout the first round and provide cakes, so………..

    What a cracking Oz derby to get us away. Regulars know i am a blue-blood Tah’s tragic, but man i am excited by the Reds this year. Size, youth with experience, depth and i am a fan of the Padre. He made some tough calls early in the piece but i saw a man with a vision and determined to achieve – now that’s how you develop a culture, to quote Mr Disney ‘i would rather limp without you, than limp with you’. He stuck to his guns and i reckon there’s some gold in them there hills for the Reds this year.

    The battle of the front rows will be huge, JOC and Jehovah in the centres, pace out wide, some nimble young bucks at 9 & 10 and for mine the most exciting prospect ive seen in gold in an age (just ahead of Harrison in 10 at Tahland) – Harry Wilson. A big, abrasive ball playing 8. Loves the dark arts or popping a silky ball to an outside back – i like this kid, alot.

    Reds by 12.

    Across the detch i reckon the Tah’s will put a good account up, but the Saders will do what the Sader Machine does and just keep on truckin, but i will look to the performance of Gods chosen ones in the loss as opposed to the result. Saders by 17.

    Piss off cricket and those FUX commentators – welcome back Gods game, i’ve missed you.

    • Keith Butler

      Just been on the SR site to check the team sheets for the Oz and NZ squads. Talk about the teams they are a changin’. The Saders hardly recognisable but they will still be a threat and the Tahs might run them close. Reds and Ponies to fight it out for the top spot with our teams doing the same for 4th. With all the player turnround this season, the finals shake up could be a lot closer than previous.

      • Hoss

        Morning Mr Mayor.

        Yep, a lot to like with the comp this year and close run thing. A lot of the Dutch Dirt Farmers players have also chased the Yen, Pound or Euro this year so the SAFFA squads are largely unknown, The Jaguares similarly. Reputations and long international careers will be born in the incubator of SR this year. I am really excited by it.

        • Keith Butler

          Could this be the upturn in G&G rugby that we have been waiting for? Out with the old and in with the new – the mid year games against the Paddies will be an indication of where we’re heading.

        • Hoss

          I think so mate.

          The Cheika era constipation has been flushed through. Some of these new kids on the block have been in SR academies and junior rep for 5 years-odd. There rugby smart, not scarred from yo-yo selections, poor game plans or thick scar tissue from regular beatings from the Nearlies and every body else for that matter. All this next-gen knows is hunger, a degree of success (regularly beating baby Nearlies sides and RU in U20 RWC campaign) and a desire to earn it.

          They are unsullied from yesterdays antics and ready to rip. Its a great time in Oz rugby as a fresh page is turned and history is ours to write

      • Nutta

        Saders – definitely new names but coming from a trusted & true production line… Bastards.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Harsh. Most of their parents are married. And mostly to each other

    • Keith Butler

      Talking of which, hows the list of new nicknames coming along? Work in progress I reckon.

      • Hoss

        Still mourning the loss of some great ones:

        The Bovine Sprinkler

        We shared so many great times together and now, just like that, its over.

        Spanners in particular. Who else will miss give-me’s when converting, hit a post at least once / game. have a kick charged down several times / match, throw shocking passes and make so many metres for touch with those long, raking touch-finders. Truly, a generational loss.

        • Keith Butler

          Great losses but others will fill their boots. I’m sure that our new member Reds Revival is wondering who the they are but we’ll leave him guessing. Spanners and Bovine Sprinkler classics.

        • Reds Revival

          Keith, I have been following the forum for a while now, so familiar with many of the names, including Padre and Gilbert. The problem is, you have to read the posts every day in case he comes up with a new one…

        • Keith Butler

          Off course you would have. Must be the heat here in Tassie affecting the grey matter, or what’s left of it – ex lock of 20 yrs standing.

        • Reds Revival

          I’m an ex second rower too, but at the other end of the country (in FNQ), so I think I can marginally claim the heat factor over you.

        • Keith Butler

          Mate, 35 down here at the moment. Hot enough to boil a monkeys bum for us Tasweigians but a balmy spring day in your neck of the woods.

        • Hoss

          Just wanted to check, the ‘F’ is for ‘far’ isnt it some of my polly mates in Briz have a different meaning for it thats all?

        • Yowie

          I’ve thought about it for a while and it occurred to me that, while the wit & quality of slagging-off might suffer, there may be an up-side for Aussie rugby fans if we have a non-bonkers coach and the regular Wallabies are there because of form.

        • Nutta


        • Hoss

          That’s enough about you, lets talk about me and my needs for a minute. The ‘greater good’ – commie.

        • Keith Butler

          Maybe true but mark my words, if there’s a scapegoat out there to use and abuse, the Hossman will find him.

        • Hoss

          They usually come to me an a bourbon fuelled, expletive laden haze, usually induced by dumb rugby, butchered try or general lack of rugby nous. Sometimes through other incidents as well, i like to surprise.

        • Yowie

          What about the nicknames that come to you outside of office hours?

        • Hoss

          What, on my time ?? You jest.

        • Nutta

          Ignis Movetur – move or die. New blood is critical to the rejuvenation of creative juices

    • Mica

      Agreed Hoss – I am looking forward to Harry W having a big impact (for a rookie). Loved what I saw during the Junior Wallabies. He certainly looks like a good ‘un

  • numpty

    Season starts afresh – me reds can only go downhill from here, coz I’ve got them as a sure thing at the pointy end of this season with my glass half full. Evidence my arse, Thorny has it in him coz he is bred tough like bennett from the simple code.

  • Hoss

    Anyone know if game still on? Fire and conditions look a bit bleak presently and nothing on Ponies / SR sites ?

    • Yowie

      The TV coverage might look like the 2006 Super Rugby final (with the heavy fog and the red-jersey team winning)

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