Quarter final preview: Brumbies v. Sharks - Green and Gold Rugby
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Quarter final preview: Brumbies v. Sharks

Quarter final preview: Brumbies v. Sharks

The regular season is over and now it’s time to get down to business in the playoffs, starting with the Quarter Finals with the Brumbies at home to the Sharks on Saturday night in Canberra.

The Brumbies are on their best winning streak in 12 years after claiming wins in the last six games and eight of the last ten and are riding the all-important wave of momentum heading into this clash. The Sharks snuck into the eight with a last gasp win over the Stormers in Cape Town and had to travel across the Indian Ocean and set up camp in Sydney for the 2nd time this season.

The nuances of the conference system mean these two sides did not play each other in 2019 with their last clash back in 2018 where the Brumbies came away with a close win as has been the case in the last three clashes where seven points has been the winning margin.

Brumbies Dan McKellar has had a selection headache this week with some difficult calls to make with some handy names coming back into contention. The backrow rotation that has served them well in 2019 continues with the trio of Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack and Pete Samu given the nod as Jahrome Brown and Lachlan McCaffrey drop back to a 6/2 bench split in a sign of the game plan they want to play.

There will be new faces in the 11 and 14 jerseys with Toni Pulu named and Henry Speight returning from injury with an important injection of speed against some quick opponents. Tom Wright is back to the bench and Andy Muirhead who could consider himself unlucky but the Brumbies have a squad mentality and it won’t faze him at all.

Finals football is a whole different matter with no bonus points on offer and likely to be freezing conditions there could be some risk free game plans on show. The Sharks could revert to the tactics of last week against the Stormers that saw them kick 26 times and will be pinning their hopes on a mistake from the Brumbies.

Coach Robert du Preez has had a running battle with the Durban press in 2019 with team selections with many suggesting the inclusion of Robert du Preez at 10 has stifled their attack with suggestions Curwin Bosch should get the keys to the backline. But he’s stuck to his guns and with Bosch back from injury, will remain in the 15 jersey that will make it six of the seven backs that played in the 2018 game against the Brumbies.

That is the only change in the starting 15 from Cape Town but there are a number of player who didn’t make the trip over and will miss the experience of Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawawira at scrum time and also Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt around the forwards.

The centres pairing of Andre Esterhuizen who weighs in at 111kg and Lukhanyo Am could be the key for the Sharks if they are prepared to hang onto the ball but the expected chilly conditions could mean otherwise.

Key match ups

Pete Samu v. Daniel du Preez

Samu has been going about his business quietly in the backrow but has been getting the job done in the absence of known ruck burglar, David Pocock. Du Preez has a strong ball carrying game, as evidenced by his match leading 17 carries last week in Cape Town so keeping his hands off the ball will be important.

Tevita Kuridrani v. Lukhanyo Am

Kuridrani has had his best season in years and is reaping the rewards of a full off-season. A new contract has been announced and hopefully he can continue his hot run of form but comes up against a Springboks rep in Lukhanyo Am who put the Sharks into the quarters with a last gasp try against the Stomers and will need to be contained early if the Brumbies want to keep him quiet and off the try scorers list.

Tom Banks v. Curwin Bosch

Tom Banks has been solid, without being flashy in recent weeks but his input to the Brumbies attack can’t go without being noticed. He’s been safe under the high ball and his kicking accuracy for the line off penalties has been instrumental in getting the rolling maul going.

Bosch is back from injury and the Sharks will be hoping he can inject himself from fullback and create room for the pacy backs out wide.


It will be close but Brumbies to edge it by 7..

Please enjoy these Joe Roff highlights from the first ever clash between these sides.



1 Scott Sio
2 Folau Fainga’a
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Rory Arnold
5 Sam Carter
6 Rob Valetini
7 Tom Cusack
8 Pete Samu
9 Joe Powell
10 Christian Lealiifano
11 Toni Pulu
12 Irae Simone
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Henry Speight
15 Tom Banks

16 Connal McInerney
17 James Slipper
18 Leslie Leulua’ialii-Makin
19 Darcy Swain
20 Lachlan McCaffrey
21 Jahrome Brown
22 Matt Lucas
23 Tom Wright


1 Mzamo Majola
2 Kerron van Vuuren
3 Coenie Oosthuizen
4 Ruben van Heerden
5 Hyron Andrews
6 Jacques Vermeulen
7 Tyler Paul
8 Daniel du Preez
9 Louis Schreuder
10 Robert du Preez
11 Makazole Mapimpi
12 Andre Esterhuizen
13 Lukhanyo Am
14 Sbu Nkosi
15 Curwin Bosch

16 Cullen Collopy
17 Juan Schoeman
18 Thomas du Toit
19 Gideon Koegelenberg
20 Luke Stringer
21 Cameron Wright
22 Jeremy Ward
23 Rhyno Smith


Kick off: 8:05pm AEST
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Saturday 22 June
Referee: Mike Fraser
AR1: Angus Gardner
AR2: Graham Cooper
TMO: James Leckie

  • Max Graham

    That is a very strong Brumbies team. Slipper and McCaffery on the bench!! My prediction – Brumbies by 10+ with Valetini to eat someone.

    • Geoffro

      Im sure those laddies from the beachside suburbs of Durban will be going WTF when the temp hits close to zero in the backend.Popsicles for Valetini

  • Geoffro

    Been a while since weve seen a player as naturally gifted as Roff.Thanks for the flashback.Go Brumbies !

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Very surprised to see Cusack starting over Brown. I wonder what McKellar’s reasoning there is.

    • Soften them up, then CRUSH them!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Maybe. I like Brown’s 80 minute breakdown work. Cusack doesn’t have the same impact in tight. Anyway, in McKellar we trust I suppose.

  • Geoffro

    We see playing the Chiefs as an easier path to the final ;)

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Having the Chiefs travel to Canberra after just travelling to Buenos Aires certainly does seem a better proposition.

      • Geoffro

        Will be a tough ask of them if it does pan out that way

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely no travel for a start. However I like the idea of retribution for that shellacking earlier in the season

      • Geoffro

        They’ve certainly turned a corner since then.Dont think there’d be any shellackings being handed out in a Brumby/Mooloo semi

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No I think it’d be a close game

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah whatever way it goes it will be close

  • Keith Butler

    Hope the Chiefs win but it will be a tough one. The Jags are the dark horses of the comp imo.

  • Not sure I agree with your finals prediction mate, but agree on this match at least. I think the Jaguares v Chiefs will be the QF where the away team are most likely to win, then Brumbies v Sharks, but I think both home sides will win, same in the semis.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Nah mate. My Chiefs will smash the Brumbies. TBH not so confident on the Canes over the Crusaders but I do think they’re the only side that could do it

      • NSWelsham in London

        what about the waratahs???? sorry had to put that in there

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha true. Not in a final series though

      • You could be right, we’ll have to wait and see.

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