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

Preview: Brumbies v. Waratahs

Preview: Brumbies v. Waratahs

The Brumbies welcome the Waratahs on Friday night, looking to get their season back on track after 1-3 start to the 2019 season. The home side will be stinging after letting a golden opportunity against the Rebels slip and have made a number of changes this week against a Waratahs side who are coming off a tough win over the Reds.

It is not make or break just yet for the Brumbies but this match is the second of a treble against Aussie opposition and another loss could put a bit of a gap between themselves and the front-runners of the Aussie conference.

The Brumbies will be looking to rectify their second half fade outs that have cost them dearly in the two losses to the Rebels where they lead at half time before being run down and they were in the game against the Hurricanes before suffering the same fate.

Their task has become that little bit tougher with injuries ruling out David Pocock with a calf injury and prop Allan Alaalatoa with a wrist injury sustained against the Rebels. Coach Dan McKellar has made seven changes throughout the 23 highlighted by Lausii Taliauli named for his first start since suffering a knee injury in the trial against the Waratahs and his height will be crucial in containing Israel Folau’s aerial threat.

In Pocock’s absence, Tom Cusack shifts to 7 and Lachie McCaffrey comes back into the starting side at 8 after a week off. With Allan Alaalatoa out, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin takes over at tighthead and will need a big game after being put under real pressure in the defeat to the Rebels.

Irae Simone has come back into the starting side at 12 at the expense of Tom Wright, who is out of the 23 altogether. On the bench there are two new faces in the backs with locals Jordan Jackson-Hope and Mack Hansen alongside reserve prop Tom Ross in line for his debut.

On the other side of the coin, the Waratahs have a relatively settled side with only two changes in the starting side as Alex Newsome was expected to take the place of Curtis Rona on the wing but a hamstring injury to Karmichael Hunt late in the week sees a backline reshuffle of Beale at 12, Folau back to 15 and Rona in 14 but don’t be surprised if Rona and Newsome switch wings.

Nick Phipps is back on the bench after recovering from a calf injury of his own that he picked up at Wallabies camp back in pre-season and will no doubt be his energetic self when he eventually takes to the field. His inclusion on the bench is probably could be the difference with his experience alongside Tatafu Polota-Nau crucial to getting them the win.

The strengths of both sides are in contrast with the Brumbies forwards looking the goods and the Waratahs star-studded backline also causing damage so it seems simple for both sides to not play to the opposition strengths.

The Brumbies will be hoping for a tight battle and use their forwards and get over the top but their success will depend on their patience and game management which went missing against the Rebels in the second half.

The Waratahs game plan seems pretty simple, but stopping them is another matter altogether. With Bernard Foley pulling the strings and Beale now at 12, it gives them a dual playmaker option to try and find space for Folau.

Match up

McCaffrey vs Dempsey

With the World Cup on the horizon, the Wallabies will be looking to find that missing piece of the backrow puzzle to come up with an alternative to the Hooper/Pocock combo. Isi Naisarani’s name has been thrown around as a possibility now that he is eligible but Lachlan McCaffrey and Jack Dempsey can’t be discounted – McCaffrey has been solid in his games this year and one of their best forwards so far and Dempsey is working his way back after missing the majority of last year.


The Brumbies have won four of the last five encounters between the two sides, including putting a dent in the Waratahs home finals chances in 2018, and will be looking to get one up on their arch rival. The late scratching of Karmichael Hunt will be a big blow to the Waratahs midfield defence.
It’s going to be close but Brumbies by 1..



1 Scott Sio
2 Folau Fainga’a
3 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin
4 Rory Arnold
5 Sam Carter
6 Rob Valetini
7 Tom Cusack
8 Lachlan McCaffrey
9 Joe Powell
10 Christian Lealiifano
11 Lausii Taliauli
12 Irae Simone
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Henry Speight
15 Tom Banks

16 Josh Mann-Rea
17 James Slipper
18 Tom Ross
19 Murray Douglas
20 Pete Samu
21 Ryan Lonergan
22 Jordan Jackson-Hope
23 Mack Hansen


1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
2 Damien Fitzpatrick
3 Sekope Kepu
4 Jed Holloway
5 Rob Simmons
6 Ned Hanigan
7 Michael Hooper
8 Jack Dempsey
9 Jake Gordon
10 Bernard Foley
11 Alex Newsome
12 Kurtley Beale
13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
14 Curtis Rona
15 Israel Folau

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Rory O’Connor
18 Chris Talakai
19 Ryan McCauley
20 Lachlan Swinton
21 Nick Phipps
22 Mack Mason
23 Cameron Clark


Kick off: 7:45pm AEDT
GIO Stadium
Friday 15 March
Referee: Glen ‘Jacko’ Jackson
AR1: Jordan Way
AR2: Amy Perrett
TMO: James Leckie

  • Hoss

    Christ, how do you pick this with any confidence. Of course there’s the natural advantages of breeding, geography, history, state v a ‘territory’ (snigger),but rugby – stuffed if I know. No Brian, or 7A’s, Powell and Lilo were poo last week and much of the season (the chiefs were an apparition). For the chosen ones, No Genitals, Ned looking unlikely, Spanners is poor, Gilbert the dancing crab back at 10, no Miller on the pine, the Bovine Sprinkler on the bench and they really should have put 45 on the crimsons last round.

    Conclusion. Leave wallet in pants this week and pray for a result.

    Maybe a draw is fitting.

    • Brisneyland Local

      MAte the only bet I would consider this week, and I am no betting man, is a lazy twenty on the Reds. Especially as they are the underogs.

      • Hoss

        I like em for this one mate, but they will miss Rodda this weekend, his go forward and work rate are sensational. Wallabies team picked now I would have The big Rod & Matt Phillips starting with Arnold and Jones on the pine.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Did you see DBTB team list based on current form?
          Here it is:
          1. Slipper
          2. BPA
          3. Ala’alatoa
          4. Rodda
          5. Coleman
          6. Naisarani
          7. Pocock
          8. McCaffrey
          9. Genia
          10. Quade
          11. Banks
          12. Hunt
          13. Kerevi
          14. Folau
          15. DHP

          16. FF
          17. Sio
          18. Tupou
          19. Jones
          20. Hooper
          21. Gordon
          22. Toomua
          23. Hodge

          I reckon he is pretty close on the mark there.

        • Bernie Chan

          I wish it were possible…but as they said in that movie The Princess Bride….”inconceivable”. A Wobblies supporter could easily cheer for that team…though I’d choose Maddocks over Banks.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh so true.
          I am happy to quibble around the edges. 95% of that team minus one or two players I would be happy.

        • Hoss

          A lot to like there. Some minor arguments. But I like the vibe. Actually asked my IT boffins today to ser up a page (i would Post on GAGR if ok with them) so that Gaggers could vote each Monday from 1-6 points. 1 being poor, 6 being dominant. It would be a rolling score based on actual gagr input with a weekly team of wallabies and a ‘rolling’ team. So come the tests we could compare ours v theirs. Be interesting I reckon.

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte sounds like you have incompetent It Weenies working for you. Mine took 6 weeks to get my “follow me print” working. They are fucking useless.

        • Huw Tindall

          Maybe signs of poor leadership if even the print doesn’t want follow you? ;)

        • Kiwi rugby lover


        • Brisneyland Local

          My staff only follow me purely out of curiosity into where I may end up! ;-)

        • Huw Tindall

          Morbid curiosity?

        • Brisneyland Local


        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That would be cool mate

        • Nutta

          Gotta luv Internal Terrorism.

        • Keith Butler

          Not bad BL. Balance in the back row – whatever next.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Look I genuinely don’t think it is perfect. It is pretty much identical to what I would pick though. But hey based on current form I think it will significantly better than the tripe Cheika the Ass Clown has dished out all of the last two years.

        • IIPA

          Quite like that team but it can’t be “current form” based if Hodge and Toomua are there… almost like he chucked in a couple of favourites at the end. On form probably Meakes and Maddocks.

          I’d have Phillip every day of the week too.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Toomua’s form over seas is pretty good at the moment. Hodge was ok off the bench. But yes you are right about Meakes and Maddocks.

    • Please remember I’ve only watched highlights thanks to this wretched move.

      But my current ranking of the Australian sides goes Rebels, Tahs, Brumbies, Reds. There may well be some juggling in weeks to come – the Reds had their scrum stuffed by a ref and a pitch and have faced the Saders, The Tahs looked good against the Chiefs, but this year who hasn’t?

      But I’ll put my 5c on the the Tahs. If you twist my arm I might go to 10c. Not brave enough to put $1 on it though. The Brumbies will come good, and if they were at full strength it could have been this game – all those people saying “Hooper is the best 7 in the world,” I admire their loyalty to the jersey, by they’re ignoring Pocock who is a better 7, whatever number he wear on his back. There are a number of serious contenders in other countries too. If Pocock was there, I’d wonder just how much good ball that Tahs backline would get. Without him, I think they’ll get the ball too often and run the ball in. That simple.

      • Greg

        Run the ball in…. with spanners and gilbert…. it might be run the ball out!

        • Well, history at SR level this year suggests otherwise… but we’ll see.

      • Brian

        I’m a huge Hooper fan and a rusted on Tahs supporter, but somehow I must have missed all those people saying “Hooper is the best 7 in the world.” I’ll have to listen harder at the next meeting I suppose.

        • It pops up in the comments here, and I’m sure I heard it in the podcast this week, although I was doing the washing up too so I might have had bubbles in my ears at the time.

    • Huw Tindall

      Genitals pinging his hammy has tipped me just in favour of the Brums I reckon. He has been quite important in keeping a fragile Tahs defence together that I think he’ll be sorely missed. Was a great defensive combo with Hooper in the 10/12 channel with one player tackling and the other hitting the ruck. Really did a number on the Reds last week in that regard.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’m seeing these games as a competition between the poor and the even worse at times. I can’t pick this but for the sake of Australian rugby I hope the Brumbies pull it off

  • Ruggaman

    The Brumbies have a great maul and thats about it. Tahs +5

  • Adrian

    Tahs just!

    Injuries will effect this, but I think the main differences are lack of leadership for Brums with Pocock out.

    Brumbies are the only Australian side to be thrashed in any game, but also the only side to thrash another side.

    Brums will aim attack at Beale probably, but they have to give it to someone to do that, but I doubt that they can.

    My preference is a good well attended game with everyone playing well.

    • idiot savant

      Yes I tend to agree. The Brums style of game has clearly troubled the Tahs in recent times. They control the ball for long periods in the forwards and they are disciplined in defence which all adds up to not enough chances for the Tahs backs. The Tahs have the smarter coaching group though and the Tahs forwards were too good for the Reds last week so if they can maintain that performance I think the Tahs should do it with some comfort. Tahs will come over the top in the last quarter to win by 14.

  • Nutta

    For mine it will come down to possession.

    The Donkey pack would normally have it over the Tarts for getting the ball. 7A’s is a loss but they should still get both their own ball and pinch a good percentage of Tarts with lineout steals and maybe a few scrum penalties (I think a few refs spent a few hours getting tuned up this week about how in Christs name HJH stayed on the field last week – dead set Tupou waz robbed blind).

    At the battle of the breakdown, having the worlds greatest (ever?) 7 not on the field for the Donkeys allows the Tarts back in the game surely.

    That said, the Donkeys will have a far more useful tactical kicking game (esp as the Tarts don’t have Hunt).

    So, I reckon the Donkeys will have the better of possession generally and even when the Tarts do get ball, it will be pinned back in their own 22 and they will be unable to kick-clear it out. Between that and having Simone and K’train bash on Foley and Beale all night, I reckon the Donkeys should get home.

  • Gun

    How much do you want the Ponies to pound the Flowers.

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

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