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

Preview: Waratahs v Brumbies

Preview: Waratahs v Brumbies

On Saturday, the NSW Waratahs host the ACT Brumbies in a vital match for both sides. At stake is the carrot of a potential lucrative home semi-final for the Tahs and for the Brumbies, well they love (live?) to spoil any Tahs’ party and they can also qualify for a finals spot. There’s plenty to play for.

Taqele Naiyaravoro has scored 14 tries in 2018.

Taqele Naiyaravoro has scored 14 tries in 2018

Why should I bother?

The Tahs have scored an average of 4.7 tries per match this year compared to only 3.3 for the Brumbies and have displayed a willingness to move the ball quickly once they have achieved suitable field position. Henry Speight will need to deny space to Taqele Naiyaravoro but will also fancy his chances of getting around Big T.

High flying Henry Speight. Photo Credit: Stephen Tremain

High flying Henry Speight. Photo Credit: Stephen Tremain

The clash between David Pocock (who has 19 pilfers in only 9 matches in 2018) and impressive Tahs’ openside Will Miller promises to be gigantic. Both sides will be looking for season-best accuracy at the contact zone and intelligent decision making prior to taking contact.

Key match ups

Will Miller v David Pocock

The importance of this clash stands out like the proverbial. Enough said.

Spectators v TMO

An acquaintance of mine recently suggested that SANZAAR should review the whole salary structure introduced for TMOs this season. There appears to be some ambiguity as to how a TMO would qualify for performance pay but I couldn’t possibly comment. Past matches between these sides have often had some heat to them so it is quite possible that George Ayoub may may be required to assist referee Angus Gardiner.

The game plans

The Brumbies need a bonus point win if they are to have a chance of making the final eight so they simply must bring all the attacking flair they can muster to the clash. The Tahs will want to ensure they finish in second position on the ladder to reap the benefits (and dollars) that will bring in terms of opponents and home playoff matches. All logic suggests both teams will be looking to score as many points as possible, playing right to the final whistle.

Both sides maintained relatively secure primary possession this year. The difference between the teams has been in the effectiveness of their backlines. The Tahs have shown a willingness to move the ball wide and they have scored some fine five pointers this year. The Brumbies have some decent players in their high numbered jerseys as well but they just don’t seem to have clicked this year. It really is a match where players such as Lealiifano, Godwin and Kuridrani have to exert significantly more influence with ball in hand. It’s a case of now or go home for the Brumbies.


The Waratahs to continue their recent improved form and secure second place on the ladder.

Tahs by 14

Match Details

1. Tom Robertson
2. Damien Fitzpatrick
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Jed Holloway
5. Rob Simmons
6. Ned Hanigan
7. Will Miller
8. Michael Wells
9. Nick Phipps
10. Bernard Foley
11. Taqele Naiyaravoro
12. Kurtley Beale
13. Curtis Rona
14. Cameron Clark
15. Israel Folau

16. Silatolu Latu
17. Harry Johnson-Holmes
18. Paddy Ryan
19. Tom Staniforth
20. Brad Wilkin
21. Jake Gordon
22. Alex Newsome
23. Bryce Hegarty

1. Scott Sio
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Richie Arnold
6. Blake Enever
7. David Pocock
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Joe Powell
10.Christian Lealiifano
11. Andrew Muirhead
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Tom Banks

16. Connal McInerney
17. Nic Mayhew
18. Leslie Leulusialii-Makin
19. Sam Carter
20. Lachlan McCaffrey
21. Matt Lucas
22. Wharenui Hawera
23. Lausii Taliaula

Match Details

Date: Saturday, 14 July 2018

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-off: 19:45 AEST

Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant referees:
Will Houston, James Leckie

TMO: George Ayoub

  • 22DropOut


    Which will be the larger number, the spectators or the TMOs?

    • Brumby Runner

      I have a feeling that a really good crowd will turn out for this one.

      • 22DropOut

        Yeah true i was kidding.

        I am saving my hall-pass for next weekend though.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I think a bit much is being made of Miller vs Pocock. One of the best – if not the best – open side flankers in the world against a decent Super Rugby flanker. If Miller didn’t play for the Tahs this wouldn’t be being built up as a ‘titanic clash’.

    I’m just looking forward to the front row clash. I suspect the Tahs will be too strong, but I don’t think it will be by 14.

    • IIPA

      Miller can only play what’s in front of him but he’s been very good in doing that this year. Him and Pocock are clearly the form opensides in the country.

      Funnily enough it’s not so much at the ruck but linking and support and defence where it’s a “matchup”. Miller has a lot of ruck support from Wells, Fitzgerald then Latu, Kepu, Beale and Phipps also can steal a ball. Pocock on the other hand has less allies at the ruck.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Not sure Miller has been clearly better than Faingaa, while he his good no doubt.

        • IIPA

          Colby never plays a bad game but I don’t know if he’s been a standout in any really this year either. Anyway Miller is making the absence of Hooper a lot easier to deal with for Tah fans. Should be a good game Sat night.

        • Brumby Runner

          Miller is busier, and I would say better, than Hooper at contesting rucks, slowing opposition ball and pilfering. His positional play and support for the ball runners out wide is as good or better too. It’s really only in hitting the ball up where Hooper is better. I reckon Michael should move to No 8 when he comes back and Miller keeps the 7 jersey.

  • Brumby Runner

    Too many tries in the Tahs’ Nos 11 and 15, unfortunately. Just can’t get the image of Naiyaravoro running around Henry in the earlier game this year out of my head.

    I fear the Brumbies will be packing up for the year after this game. But their late form was pleasing after such a shithouse start to the season. Went down to the Reds in Brisbane and lost both games against the Rebels. That’s their season stuffed right there.

  • Keith Butler

    Jeez, the Ponies have got some tall timber at 4,5 and 6. Tahs cold be in for a bit of a test up front.

  • Mart

    This should actually be a solid game.

    When’s Hooper due back?

    Did Jack Dempsey’s Hamstring just disappear altogether last year? or is he coming back at some stage!?!

    is number 16 Tolu Latu?

    • John R

      I read this morning that Dempsey is expected to be another 8 weeks at least. Might come back via NRC.

      Hooper (assuming the Tahs get there) could be back for the semi’s

      • Mart

        Geez Dempseys Hamstring injury v baba’s must have been brutal
        When was that? 8 months ago? you come back from ACL’s quicker

        • John R

          Tell me about it aye.

          I can imagine the young fellah has had some challenging days mentally through it all. Imagine going from MOTM in a win against NZ to not playing for 8 months, and probably being in fair amount of discomfort for a good portion too.

        • Mart

          Yeah terrible stuff

        • Ian Rodger

          Didn’t it tear straight of the bone or something like that?

    • 2bluesfan

      Yes, 16 is Tolu Latu. I just felt like including some formality by using his full name :) And you are right, this could be a very good match.

    • Missing Link

      I also await the return of Dempsey. Looked sharp pre injury

  • Hoss

    I am a Tah’s fan through and through, i’d love to see 14 points our way at f.t, but i reckon its closer than that due to one D Pocock nullifying clean, quick, crisp pill to the fairies Tahs by 3-5 in a nail-biter.

    • Adrian

      Agree in general Hoss, but these days teams sometimes run away in last 10 minutes. I’m saying Tahs by 10

      • Hoss

        Its certainly no dead-rubber. A lot to play for, for everyone. Home semi, Wallaby spots for 4N. Some Brumbies wont be under the nose of the National Selectors for a few weeks (after Sats game) and a chance for a few gold fringies to mount a claim. From a Wallaby stand point we are playing the darkness first-up in the 4N and i reckon that will see Mr Cheika like winning form and combos in his squad of gold – game on

        • idiot savant

          I think you’ll find the National Selectors is singular, not plural. But hey grammar was never my strong point.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think a defining issue is that if the Brumbies lose that’s their season over, whereas the Tahs have the home slot for the finals regardless. I wonder if that may just impact a tight one the Brumbies way

      • Braveheart81

        The Brumbies need to win by 3+ tries though so it could also backfire for them if they try and play too attacking if they can’t get the right level of ascendancy first. I think it will be a good game but I tend to think the Tahs will be a little too good at home.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I do agree. Just enough out there to make it interesting though

  • Bobas

    This is the pack weights as listed on the teams websites.
    TAH 875
    Robbo 107
    Fitz 105
    Kepu 118
    Jed 118
    Simmo 115
    Ned 110
    Miller 98
    Wells 104

    BRU 916
    SIO 115
    FF 106
    7As 120
    Rory 120
    Richie 127
    BE 115
    DP 103
    IN 110

    • Hoss

      Been real impressed with Holoway as a lock. More involvements, has some real meat in everything he does. I initially saw him as a Wallaby 8, but a good showing against the Ponies and in the finals he’d have to be there-about’s for the Wallabies in June.

      • Twoilms

        He’s no where near a Wallabies spot. There are at least 6 locks ahead of him (probably more) and he’s simply not good enough in the backrow to ever be called up in one of those positions.

      • idiot savant

        Maybe. Its getting crowded in the 5/6 department with Tui and Hanigan. Even more crowded at lock with Coleman, Rodda, Arnold, Phillip, and Simmons. Which is great of course. Its hard to see him playing 8 at the Tahs with Wells doing such an outstanding job. With Dempsey to come back, Jed is a candidate to be poached overseas if Cheika keeps him out.

    • Adrian

      They look right.
      Sometimes teams fudge weights for whatever reason. Or maybe it’s players who do the fudging!

    • idiot savant

      Thats an extra 40kgs of corpuscle needing oxygen. Which means the Brums are gunna be sucking in the big ones when the Tahs go wide fast. Those extra 40kgs could well be a little too much lead in the saddle bags in the back end of both halves. Throw in the Tahs better bench and I think they’ll be too quick for the horses.

  • Tah Tragic

    Great news just reported on Charlotte Caslick is going to reject the offer from League and stick with Rugby. She has not actually signed her contract with yet but says she is close to finalising.

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