Reds V Brumbies Preview- Top of the Table Clash - Green and Gold Rugby

Reds V Brumbies Preview- Top of the Table Clash

Reds V Brumbies Preview- Top of the Table Clash

We are onto the final week of Super Rugby AU and the top two teams are clear. It is the ACT Brumbies and the Queensland Reds. The only thing in question is whether this will be a preview of the final in two weeks time, and will there be some foxing going on in the lead up? Read on for the preview.

Credit- QRU- Brendan Hertel

Credit- QRU- Brendan Hertel


Fresh of the bye the Reds teams welcomes back some reinforcements, especially to the front row stocks. After making a comeback from a knee injury off the bench against the Force, Harry Hoopert comes into the starting side for Jack Straker, who drops out of the 23 altogether. The Smith twins are reunited at the Reds, with Ruan (fresh off being released from the Rebels), rejoining brother JP on the bench. JP is returning from injury and Ruan has hardly played all year so both should be fresh, if short of a run.

Elsewhere, Chris Feauai-Sautia returns from a calf injury on the wing with Jordan Petaia shifitng into outside centre replacing young Josh Flook whose dislocated shoulder needs surgery. Hunter Paisami returns on the bench in what is a very strong and positionally flexible backline.

The Smith twins back together!

The Smith twins back together!



After winning the last two games with what had been viewed by some as a “weaker” team, the Brumbies have rung the changes, perhaps mindful that they have next week off prior to the Final so the stars would have gone a month without footy going into it.

Nic White returns to the Brumbies starting side as Dan McKellar rings the changes this week. Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a, Darcy Swain, Rob Valentini and Tevita Kuridrani all come back into the starting side for the Brumbies, with Nick Frost and Ryan Lonergan also coming onto the bench.

Nic White back in the starting side

Nic White back in the starting side


The set piece- We will witness what are the two best scrums in Australian rugby and as much as some people rail against the amount of scrums and the usage of them as a tactical weapon, the fact is winning the battle here early can often set the tempo not only of the game but of the referee’s decision making. These two teams have had some ding dong battles up front in recent times and this should be no exception. The return of Harry Hoopert to the starting side and the Smith twins to the bench will certainly be a fillip to the confidence of the Red’s in this area.

Will anyone throw a lineout straight?-Now lineouts are a bit of a lottery at the best of times but this Super Rugby AU campaign has seen an almost comical level of miscues and lost ball for every team in the comp. No team has been exempt from this and given the Brumbies love of the maul to score tries they will be hoping that Folau Fainga’a has been tweaking his form the last few weeks. The Reds are not immune to this either with an inability to rely on clean ball hindering their attacking platforms. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Crowds- If there is an opportunity for the Reds to build a more reliable fan base, this is it. The NRL team is a dumpster fire so a hot Reds outfit have the chance to capitalise, even with all relevant COVID restrictions in place. Obviously the leg tennis is the new black in town (yawn) but rugby can re-engage with the 99 percent of Qlders who care not for an overhyped warm up game for off season cricketers. (Look it up people).

Will this be a Grand Final Preview- Yes it will. The Reds host the qualifying final next week and will win that and face the Brumbies in Canberra for all the marbles, or whatever the trophy will be.


Both teams have rolled out what look on paper to be close to their strongest 23’s. The last time these two teams met a last minute penalty from an iffy decision is what sealed the game for the Brumbies, with all their tries coming from their rolling maul. The Reds have struggled to defend this in recent times and clearly how that plays out could play a key part in the outcome.

The real questions lie further out wide. Can the Brumbies backs out muscle a Reds backline that can score tries from anywhere? Will the Reds defence produce another performance like the last two, where they have only conceded one try and a total of 11 points in 160 minutes?

With the home advantage and the prospect of a decent enough crowd I am looking to the Reds to take home the chocolates this week. This should give them the momentum to beat whomever they face next week to setup the final down in Canberra in two weeks time.

Reds by 7



Brumbies (courtesy of 

15 Tom Banks
14 Andy Muirhead
13 Tevita Kuridrani
12 Irae Simone
11 Tom Wright
10 Bailey Kuenzle
9 Nic White
8 Pete Samu
7 Will Miller
6 Rob Valentini
5 Caderyn Neville
4 Darcy Swain
3 Allan Alaalatoa
2 Folau Fainga’a
1 Scott Sio


16 Connal McInerney
17 James Slipper
18 Tom Ross
19 Nick Frost
20 Lachlan McCaffery
21 Ryan Lonergan
22 Len Ikitau
23 Solomone Kata


15 Jock Campbell
14 Chris Feauai-Sautia
13 Jordan Petaia
12 Hamish Stewart
11 Filipo Daugunu
10 James O’Connor
9 Tate McDermott
8 Harry Wilson
7 Fraser McReight
6 Liam Wright
5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
4 Angus Blyth
3 Taniela Tupou
2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa
1 Harry Hoopert


16 Josh Nasser
17 JP Smith
18 Ruan Smith
19 Tuaina Taii Tualima
20 Angus Scott-Young
21 Moses Sorovi
22 Bryce Hegarty
23 Hunter Paisami

Match Details Date: Saturday 5 September
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19:15 AEST
Referee:   AR1:   AR2:
Television Match Official:
  • Hoss

    Hard to disagree Benny boy. Both sides look good on paper. Reds fresh from a spell in the paddock. Some guns back and a spring in their step. Their mojo has grown and i think thy’re specials to beat, nigh – belt the Puppy Killers this week.

    Reds by 17.

    Also reckon the draw favours the Reds, aint nothing like momentum to win a title. Win this week, win next while the Puppy Killers rest and they are fit, hardened and confident for the big show. Lot to like about the 2020 Padre Reds – and it bodes real well for gold fortunes v the darkness later on.

    • UTG

      All that stuff about the Reds having the favourable draw is going to be moot after the Force’s inevitable win this weekend and the Tahs clean up the Reds in the first week of the finals.

      • Hoss

        Love the thinking & i will be at the game Saturday heckling like a madman, which is my normal state anyway.

        • OnTheBurst

          Hoss, I suggest you constantly scream “CAAAARRNNN THE TAAAAAAAAHS” which will rattle the Rebels as they proceed to their inevitable meltdown.

        • Keith Butler

          Hoss was the model of decorum when we watched the Tahs v the Sunwolves mostly with his hands over his ears to keep our the Mayoress and I’d constant howling. He took defeat like a man with the occasional expletive.

        • UTG

          If it comes down to a Rebels penalty goal, I will be expecting the kit to come off in an attempt to blind Toomua.

        • Hoss

          Had reached out via social media to his ex and asked her as a date to the match just to throw him off kilter.

          Haven’t heard back strangely, i may have come on a bit strong when i suggested ’50 shades of Hoss’ as an inducement.

        • UTG

          Don’t let one rejection stop you, quantity over quality when messaging celebrities.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Big call mate. Momentum certainly has some value, however in this competition the bye has been favourable and there is a chance the Reds will be tired and carrying injuries into the final whereas the Brumbies will be rested and fighting fit.

      • Hoss

        Germans had the bye after WW1, look how that worked out for them in round 2.

        If history has taught us anything its that you cant learn anything from history.

        Go the Reds.

      • Jason

        Reds actually have had the calvary come back. CFS coming back in means they can play there preferred (likely ideal) backline. JP & Rauan coming back in means they’ll probably have the scrum assendency from the kick-off to the final whistle.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben, Interesting statistics I read somewhere (I think on one MST’s posts) on teams winning after a bye more than losing. Reds at home, off the bye, looking for redemption against the Brumbies away from home in a game that won’t affect the outcome. I think you may be correct in your prediction. Of course I’ve been wrong so often this year that almost guarantees the Brumbies win.

    Writing on the wall for Powell here I think and if I was him I’d be looking for a new team about now. Personally I’m not a huge White fan and the battle between him and McDermott will be very interesting. Get Wright and McReight to pressure White and he’ll crack like he did under pressure last year. I must admit I’m also looking forward to the loosies battle as I think both teams have the best performing loosies this year.

    • Bernie Chan

      I’m not sure that bringing White back is a positive…

  • Mica

    Looking forward to this one.
    The teams look pretty even and I am hoping for a good battle.
    Weather should be good for running rugby too.

    • Jason

      Wallabies spots one the line all across the sides. Even JP & Ruan could be in for a squad spot.

      • UTG

        Don’t think 30 year old Ruan is going to take a squad spot after playing 0 games so far.

        • Jason

          He and JP are well known excellent scrummages, I actually think he played 1 or 2 games but he’s been criminally underplayed by the Rebels. I think Raun could be inline for a squad spot if he shows everything he has been in the next few games.

        • UTG

          Nah, there are a raft of guys ahead of Ruan. Tupou, AAA, HJH, Pone, Faulkner etc.

  • OnTheBurst

    Surely it’s game over for Wessels as Rebs coach if they fold on Saturday? Nice guy but has had a lot of rolls of the dice with a solid (on paper at least) team…

    • Bernie Chan

      He must be under pressure (except the media in Melbourne ignore rugby somewhat…)…jeez the season with Genia and Cooper he had almost a Test backline but the Rebs were ‘rocks-or-diamonds’…

    • Jason

      I don’t ‘blame’ him but I think he’s been leading a week organisation. But if they somehow don’t make finals he’s surely gone.

      His team has been criminally underperforming for–ever. Or maybe his players are just over rated. IDK but surely if they fail to make finals he’s gotta be done.

      • Keith Butler

        Agreed with your comment on Wessels to some extent. Let down by the organisation which has been the case for many years. Been a Rebels supporter since the beginning. For the life of me I cannot recall a time when they had a settled side. Player recruitment and management has not been the greatest – I might say terrible – the Three Amigos – being the greatest blunder of all time. Too much emphasis on recruiting backs and then playing them out of position until they had enough and left and not enough emphasis on building a settled squad with solid platform up front. Look at the forwards they have lost – the case for the prosecution rests. Much as I hate to say it, they may well blow it on Saturday.

  • Jason

    What would each of the Reds backrowers have to do over the next 3 games to win their Wallabies starting spots?

    • Christopher

      Fraser would need to meet someone in the stands who is up for some good ol’ fashioned kidnapping.

    • Reds Revival

      Acquire some incriminating photos…

    • I know I’m not the one making the decisions. I’ve already said for me I’d start Samu. But I think I’d start the Reds flankers.

      However, I’m not going to complain if it’s an all Red loose forward trio. Unlike previous years though, I think there’s real competition for all the spots, and you could see anything between 0 and 3, and while there might be some grumbling, less outrage than over the last 3-5 years.

      There will be some outrage from some quarters I’m sure, depending on who is selected, but I really think none of the spots are a sure thing, because there are genuine contenders for them all this year, and a coach who is going to pick on merit.

      • laurence king

        The thing about what is developing is that there is genuine competition for pretty much all positions. We might get personally upset about the non-selection of our favourite but we won’t really have grounds for outrage as in the near past.

        • Absolutely. I think there are at least two, in some places three or more genuine contenders for all the starting jerseys, which is nice to see.

          However, to wave a red flag to several bulls, if Hooper, say, misses out on the squad, there will be some outraged fans… If Maddocks, say, misses out to one of the other bright lights in the back three, it will be more like grumbling. No one can really deny Maddocks has talent, but no one can deny the others do too.

    • Crescent

      Put on a Waratahs jersey?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure gold!

  • Nutta

    Bugger the rest of you, the scrummage will be worth the watch alone. I reckon the Smith-combo makes the Pinkos finishing front-row better than the Donkeys and thereby slightly stronger overall. But I am a bit suspicious of Anastasia’s motivations considering just how fast Ruan crossed borders… Please don’t let the Ref get all self-important. Just let them go at it and sort it among themselves. Pinko advantage.

    Lineouts are almost back to the 80’s in-terms of picking a winner. Given the amount of crap throwing of late, I reckon just bar lifting for the weekend and just let them have at each other like we used to. Donkey advantage.

    Battle of the Backrow will be intriguing. I reckon the Donkeys will have them though esp with Muirhead chiming in out wide with his steal-rate and Samu’s twinkling toes of late. Donkey advantage.

    Inside Fairies – Bloody hard to call. I fear the Pinko’s may have the edge BUT that’s without too much time to judge Nic White on yet. Pinko advantage.

    Centres – Between the skill & size of Simone with the power of K’train the Donkeys will own that.

    Outside Fairies – Dead-set dunno. Tie.

    Other subs – I feel the Donkeys have a general calibre advantage there.

    So with 4x advantages to 2 and one tie I reckon the Donkeys have it on paper. But let’s see…

    • Hoss

      I bet you a bottle of whisk…., wait why does that ring a bell.

    • laurence king

      If Ruan had been pregnant with twins, he would have had bugger all luck getting across the border.

  • laurence king

    I for one don’t mind the scrums, or rucks or mauls or lineouts. I mentioned a while back that I was over on the north island visiting relos and happened to watch a league game. Supreme athletes, fast paced and a complete waste of 80 minutes. There was a sameness to it that was excruciating. Love the contests for the ball in rugby, they’re a mystery to me but watching the artistry of a Pocock over the ball, Tupou smashing it in a scrum and so on, is a pleasure. And about the game, hope it’s a cracker.

    • Hambone

      I’ll second that

  • Reds Revival

    One of the things that has got me most excited about this match is that both teams have a great chance of winning it. The result is far from obvious. I remember a long time ago when Bledisloe Cup games had that same air of excitement and anticipation. Hopefully, we can get back there again Mr Rennie (no pressure).
    There’s intriguing match ups right across the park, and while Nutta has done a fair job of weighing up each team’s strength and weaknesses, I don’t know if it is as clear cut as that. I’m looking forward to a cracking game full of skill, grunt, and big hits. Bring it on!

  • Brumby Runner

    What a match the Reds v Brumbies promises to be. Hardly a split hair between them right across the park, and many instances of direct competitors for Wallabies spots going head to head.

    Generally,. I think the experience of the Brumbies gives them an edge over the developing Reds, but with the travel thrown in on Saturday, I expect the Reds to win in a close one.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep the travel will hurt, And I think pretty much everyteam that has come off a bye has won. So that will be intersting to see.

  • donktec

    “Will this be a Grand Final Preview- Yes it will”
    Hard to argue with that, even if it isn’t a Sure Thing!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Ah festival of the boot. I am warming up ready for an afternoon when too much rugby isnt enough. Here we go:
    – Playing at Suncorp – Adv Reds
    – Coming off a Bye – Adv Reds
    – Not flying – Adv Reds
    – Scrum – Adv Reds
    – LIne out – Adv No one
    – Rolling Maul – Adv Ponies
    – Ability to close out a Game – Adv Ponies
    On paper I will give it to the Reds, but not by much. This will be a cracker of a game. Qld by 3.


Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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