Reds v. Brumbies Preview - Green and Gold Rugby

Reds v. Brumbies Preview

Reds v. Brumbies Preview

In their last two games the Reds have taken on the top two Kiwi teams and come away with two wins. They played one of those games in front of an Australian Super Rugby record crowd — surely the highlight of any Super Rugby team’s season. It certainly took a bit out of this old punter; I can only imagine how I would feel if I actually had to run out and play instead of juggling a beer and a kebab while watching these epic matches unfold.

Wouldn’t it be great if they could have a little rest before the next match? But no, Ewen McKenzie has had the unenviable task of getting his team up again to take on what can be considered the Reds’ bogey team. The Reds have a 2–15 win-loss record against the Brumbies. Even with the 2011 Reds flying high and the Brumbies self-destructing, it’s a lot of baggage to take into any game. The only bright spot in that record is the fact that one of those wins was their last outing against the former champs.

Dreadless Ben is ready for action

The Reds have elected to bring Ben Coridas in as a direct replacement for the unlucky Beau Robinson, even though Liam Gill will arrive home from Italy sometime Thursday morning. The rest of the team is the same as last week. Coridas will chase the ball all night and should balance the back row nicely. At 194 centimetres and 107 kilograms, he’s midget. The Reds’ back row has been in globally comparable form and it’s hoped the loss of Robinson will not disrupt Scott Higginbotham and Radike Samo’s mojo too much.

For the Brumbies, Colby Faingaa and Michael Hooper are in Italy on junior world cup duty, further weakening a back row that’s already missing Elsom and Hoiles (remember him?). The disruptions to both back rows makes this one of the few areas where Queensland are not clear favourites.

Without Salesi Ma’afu the Brumbies scrum doesn’t look anywhere near as scary as the last time the teams met. Slipper will have the measure of Owen, and Daley will do better against Alexander than the doubters believe. Which leaves Saia Faingaa against Stephen Moore. Moore should come out ahead of Faingaa, but I wouldn’t write off the younger hooker just yet. He is still on the steep incline of his learning curve and is getting better every game. And the lineout wake up call the Crusaders delivered last week should put paid to Stephen Moore’s lineout domination theories.

The Brumbies are set to continue their lucky dip five eighth policy with Matt Giteau drawing the prize envelope this week. The constant changing of backline positions can’t be helping the players. It must be nearly impossible to get any sort of rhythm going when you don’t know who is running the show each week. The Reds halves are on fire and Phibbs and Giteau will have to play several levels above their 2011 form to come anywhere near the Reds dynamic duo.

In the centres Anthony Faingaa has had an instant connection with Ben Tapuai. The two have been running around like seasoned veterans who have played together for years. Mike Harris is set to return very soon and it will be interesting to see who ends up with the No. 12 jersey come finals time. Mike’s boot must give him an advantage in that race. They are opposing Christian Lealiifano and Tyrone Smith, two very good players who have suffered from the Brumbies’ rollercoaster selection policy. Smith and Faingaa are similar players: both started at 12 and have been pushed to outside centre to fit players into the side, and both have made a pretty good fist of it. Tapuai and Lealiifano is an interesting match-up: both young exciting footballers, both trying to establish themselves on the big stage. This could be the best contest of the game.

Matt Giteau, very cute according to my daughter. This one’s for you, Teea.

Lealiifano has been pushed out one from five-eighth to make way for Matt Giteau. Much has been said of Giteau’s desire to play at 10 and I have nothing to add except to say ‘go for it!’ Just not for the Wallabies! Keep it at the Brumbies,mate.

On to the outside backs: Digby Ioane and Luke Morahan up against Adam Ashley-Cooper and Henry Speight. Speight has been impressive, from what I have seen. Ashley-Cooper is always dangerous but seems a little uninterested. Ioane has been everywhere making more metres than just about everyone. He is just impressively hungry for work. Morahan, who is dangerous in his own right, gets forgotten in the shadow of Ioane’s work rate.

Which leaves us with two very good fullbacks. Pat McCabe and Ben Lucas have both had impressive years, McCabe for his no-nonsense ball running and Lucas for his no-nonsense tackling. A match-up made in heaven.

When I set out to write this article I thought the Reds had a clear advantage. But looking at the teams man on man, I soon realised that the XVs are pretty evenly matched. So why are the Reds first and the Brumbies thirteenth? A lot of the credit must go to Ewen McKenzie, Matt Taylor, Jim McKay and the rest of the Reds staff. They have built belief into the players, given them a structure to grow into and formed the playing group into a formidable team. They believe in each other, and in the defensive and attacking patterns they help construct. Now I don’t pretend to have any inside knowledge of either Union other than what I’ve learned through Green and Gold Rugby, but from here it seems the Brumbies just don’t have that sort of belief. And that’s why even if I disregard my man-love for all things Queensland Red, I still have to say the Reds will win this one by 15+.

The Reds are:

1. Ben Daley
2. Saia Faingaa
3. James Slipper
4. Rob Simmons
5. James Horwill
6. Scott Higginbotham
7. Ben Coridas
8. Radike Samo
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Digby Ioane
12. Ben Tapuai
13. Anthony Faingaa
14. Luke Morahan
15. Ben Lucas

16. James Hanson
17. Greg Holmes
18. Adam Wallace-Harrison
19. Jake Schatz
20. Ian Prior
21. Will Chambers
22. Dom Shipperley


The Brumbies are:

1. Jono Owen
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Ben Hand
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. Julian Salvi
8. Ita Vaea
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Matt Giteau
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Pat McCabe

16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Henry Vanderglas
20. Nic White
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Andrew Smith

The Referees should be:

Referee: Garratt Williamson
Assistant referees: Ian Smith, Simon Moore
Television match official: Steve Lesczcynski


G&GR congratulates Nic White on his call-up to the Brumbies squad and Ben Coridas for his call-up to the Reds squad.

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  • Thomas

    I thought Jake Schatz deserved a chance in the 7 jersey as he played pretty well last week.

    • The pcruahses I make are entirely based on these articles.

  • roland

    Would have liked to see Horwill get a rest for Van the Man, Samo rest for Houston, S.Faingaa to go to bench for Hanson, Maybe same for Daley and Holmes, are dare I say it, Ioane for Shipperley.

    Really not losing too much there. Need to rest these guys that hurt themselves with every match. I still think the reds would come out with the 4 points, and if there was an easy game to rest for, this is it. Force and Chiefs will actually provide a big challenge, and then the whole team can get a week off after that. Really important reds win 2 of these last three games.

    If Robbo didnt injure himself, I would have reccommended him to have a rest 100% too. Even more critical to our success than Braid was last year.

    • theduke

      Link did a fair bit of tinkering earlier on but now at the business end he seems to be settling on a preferred 15.

      The suggested changes you make don’t seem to the be the best available people for the job – that would indicate that they are resting players and not treating this game seriously.

      Once you do that, you lose a psychological edge – or give the opposition motivation and belief. not something I’d do with a bogey team like this. So I respectfully disagree with your suggestion.

      However, I would like to see all those guys get some game time, and and sure Link will have plans to bring them on before the last 3 minutes.

      • roland

        Na all those changes are top notch players 9name the ones that arent). In fact, with how tired some of these players are, i think my team named would beat the reds who will be fielded on saturday.

        also great to get a rest.

  • roland

    Actually, if crusaders beat the blues when they play eachother, that would mean the reds could lose 2 of the last three matches and remain in the top 2. Umm…..go crusaders??

    Would also mean a likely rematch of the spectacle I witnessed last sunday. Tickets would be gone faster than a splendour in the grass at Belongil.

    • Patrick

      Wouldn’t that mean the Reds could end up 4th!? (depending on bonus points)

  • Tangawizi

    How to get the Reds up for this match? Hmmm, not that difficult really:

    1. Remind them of the shocker they had against Wellington after the beating the Tahs to throw away the 3 or 4 points that would’ve already locked up the Australian Conference for them (note the lack of squad changes this time though),

    2. Remind them that winning will seal their spot in the finals for the first time since 2001,

    3. Remind them if they win it will be the Reds first undefeated season at home since 1996, &

    4. Remind them that the last time the Brumbies came to Suncorp was pretty much the low point of the Phil Mooney era. 2nd of May, 2009 – Reds 13 def by Brumbies 52…. 52 points!! At Fortess Suncorp!!!! My god that painful to watch and must have been mightily embarrassing for the Reds players.

    This Saturday is their chance at redeeming themselves for that shocker.

    9 players from that disaster survive in the current Reds 22. They are James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane, Saia Faingaa, Ben Lucas, Anthony Faingaa & Greg Holmes while sqaud members Van Humphries, Peter Hynes, Leroy Houston & Rod Davies were also in action so 13 all up from the 2011 squad.

    9 current members of the Brumbies 22 dished out the punishment – Moore, Alexander, Hand, Kimlin, Chapman, Ashley-Cooper, Phibbs, Tyrone Smith & Venderglas. Also on hand were squad members Ma’afu, Hoiles, Edmonds & Fainifo so 13 again.

    I’m sure there are probably a million more things Link could use to get the boys up for this clash (such as Wallaby World Cup spots being on the line) but I think that’s more than enough material from me…

    Go the Reds!!!!!!!!

    • redbull

      4. Remind them that the last time the Brumbies came to Suncorp was pretty much the low point of the Phil Mooney era. 2nd of May, 2009 – Reds 13 def by Brumbies 52…. 52 points!! At Fortess Suncorp!!!! My god that painful to watch and must have been mightily embarrassing for the Reds players.

      Remind them again and again and again about this. So close to accommodating the dickhead in the dubs afterwards who thought he had actually played the game and won it for the Donkeys and wanted to go on with it after the bell. A 50 point win would not be enough.

      Without any history you would say the teams are very evenly matched. Lealiifano is not going to get the player development he deserves if he stays where he is, neither is Toomua. What has happened to Tyrone Smith this year?

      It will be a tough game but Reds should hammer them given the psychological edge they have now which the Donkeys had in 2009.

    • Tangawizi

      Tahs lose and we’re now Australian Conference and champions and guaranteed semi-finalists so ditch reasons 1 & 2.

      Reasons 3 & 4 still good enough motivation to get them over the line though.

  • theduke

    Lots being said about the Cooper/Giteau match up.

    Cooper will have the edge but I wonder whether things would have turned out differently had Giteau gotten better service from the 9? He’s constantly had poor ball from the ruck which has meant he has not had time or space to play 10 effectively (e.g. Burgess for the Wallabies) Over several year this has to impact your game – maybe even make you start looking for space sideways.


    • reds fan

      you mean the cooper-lucas/gits match up.

  • Seb V

    Why do the Brumbies put Kimlin on the bench? I thought he has been one of the stand outs.

  • Mighty Horua

    The biggest problem with the brumbies apart from being coached by a Rugby League second grade coach are Ben Alexander, Mafu, Chisholm and Valentine.

    Ben Alexander does F-all at the ruck, posing around the wing and centres to score tries. His penalty count must be highest of all ozzie prop and this should be of concern for Robbie Deans. When penalised Ben Alexander look like somebody who are unfairly treaten. He has never dominated anybody at scrum time thus useless! Who cares if he score 20 tries per season?

    Mafu: More useless than Al baxter. And that takes effort!

    Chisholm: Too slow to be flank hence his move to lock. To short to competer against top class lock. To soft to be an enforcer ala Brad Thorn, no4 of Highlanders and Bakkies Botha or even Danie Rosoouw. The sooner he leaves for Europe the F-ing better.

    Valentine: I used to rate him at the Reds, cause he serviced his 5/8 rather crisply. His the reason why Gits is so struggling cause he is taking his time at the the base of the rucks and setpiece. The sooner the Brumbies gets a 9 the better. Phibbs are not the solution for this position. Get Kingi and since gits are leaving go get Mike Harris from the Reds

  • bill

    Two guys I’ve been surprised to not see get chased hard by the other aus super teams over the last three years, Ben Lucas and Christian Lealiifano. I imagine Mike Harris will be a big target now.

    Ben Alexander, wonderful runner, maybe if he could stop cheating at scrumtime and tried to compete fairly he might end up a good prop as well. Sometimes shortcuts aren’t so short.

    Hopefully Qld by 50. ….I always want to see Qld put 50 on their opposition.Whatever the result I’m happy just so long as they put in the effort.Can’t see this Reds team not doing that.

  • SS4

    Genia and Cooper need a rest, especially with the international season drawing near, they’d get burned out come World Cup time. They’ve played every single game this season and I can’t remember the last time either got subbed off with a lot of time left on the clock.


Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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