ACT Brumbies

Preview: Tahs start young gun for Brumbies showdown

Preview: Tahs start young gun for Brumbies showdown
No Gravatar

The HSBC Waratahs revealed a new gun at Newington College during their final practice before travelling south to face the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.  Ben Volovola, the super-sub in their first two games, would start at fullback.

To accommodate him Israel Folau moves to the right wing.  In another change Lachie Turner plays from the bench, replacing Tom Kingston in the match day team.

In the forwards Sitaleki Timani returns to the second row after his injury, Mitch Chapman moves over to the blindside flank, and Dave Dennis switches to replace the injured Cliffy Palu at no. 8.

Pat McCutcheon makes a welcome return to the side and replaces Jeremy Tilse, the fourth prop in the previous match day squads, on the bench. Luke Holmes displaces John Ulugia as the reserve hooker.

Good foils - Foley & Volavola

Good foils – Bernard Foley and Ben Volavola

The new starting fullback, Ben Volavola, said he enjoyed how Christian Cullen played in the position. He also admired the calm control and organisation of flyhalves Steve Larkham, in the past, and Dan Carter currently.

When asked about the impact from the bench in the Waratahs’ first two games Volavola said:

“I tried to lift the boys when I came off the bench and raise the intensity – as Cheik told us to do at half-time […] The replacements have been able to do that in the last couple of weeks and hopefully, starting this week, we can do it from the get-go.”

Waratahs’ coach, Michael Cheika, said of the new fullback:

Ben has made it too difficult not to pick him now.  He’s forced me to make some changes.

He’s not scared; he’s not scared to fail; he’ll take a chance and back himself and I like that. He’s a good foil for Bernard [Foley] because he’s another ballplayer.

As to why Lachie Turner was on the bench:

Just to change the shape of the back three for a 5-2 bench. Lachie Turner has good experience, can cover three positions; can cover centre, properly.

“Tom Kingston is young in his career and I don’t want him to be thinking about playing centre too much – now he’s a winger, out-and-out. Lachlan deserves an opportunity: he hasn’t had a run yet. […] He’s starting to get a bit angry now, which I like, and hopefully he will make it count when he goes on the field.”

Was Israel Folau suited to the wing?

We see him as a fullback […] but the [back] three can interchange and now [he's playing wing] from the start, but who knows: he could end up at fullback during the game.”

When asked about the original list which had Sekope Kepu on the bench and Paddy Ryan starting:

Cheika - not that nasty

Michael Cheika – not that nasty

Keps is not on the bench […] That’s a typo – Keps is playing his 50th cap; can’t leave him on the bench for his 50th cap, that would be a pretty low blow: I’m a nasty guy but I’m not that nasty.

But I will say to you that Paddy Ryan is making it very difficult for me […] I think that it’s going to push Keps hard; […] he’s putting his hand up for a [starting] spot in the team.”

 On Dave Dennis moving to no. 8 in place of the injured Palu, and Chapman moving to blindside flank:

The Brumbies have had an excellent defensive lineout: it’s very well drilled; they’ve been taking ball off everybody; so we need to have a lot of options in the lineout to counter that – alongside of the fact that Mitch Chapman has played very well.

“I wanted to bring [Sitaleki Timani] back in from the start; I think he needs the run. Lopeti [Timani] wasn’t too happy about getting left out [of the starting team], but sometimes that happens; so he’ll have to take his opportunity off the bench.”

Barnes sitting this one out

Berrick Barnes – sitting this one out

On Berrick Barnes:

On Tuesday afternoon he ran, he trained, he didn’t feel he was 100 percent to go, that he could do his job fully and at the end of the day, to me, that’s what counts. At the moment, unfortunately, [it's just week by week.]“

On what Jake White said – that nothing much has happened to the Waratahs game plan:

He’s won a World Cup; so he knows what he’s talking about. [Tongue in cheek] We probably have the same game plan as last year and are running with it.”

Jake White

Jake White – won’t be surprised

What did the Waratahs have that might surprise him?

Not much by the sound of it. We’ll just go down there and do our best.”

 Where did he reckon the Brumbies were weak?

I don’t; they’ve shown they’re pretty consummate in what they do. […] They’re going to be very hard to beat.”


15. Ben Volavola, 14. Israel Folau, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Tom Carter, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8. Dave Dennis (c), 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Mitchell Chapman, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 1. Benn Robinson

Replacements: 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Paddy Ryan, 18. Greg Peterson, 19. Lopeti Timani, 20. Pat McCutcheon, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Lachie Turner.


The big news is that the iconic George Smith will be on the Brumbies bench, replacing Colby Fainga’a.  Henry Speight starts on the right wing displacing Joe Tomane who becomes a reserve.  Tevita Kudriani drops out of the match day squad.

15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (c), 7. David Pocock, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander,

Replacements: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. George Smith, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Joe Tomane

  • Matt Rowley

    Wow, this is like “proper” journalism!

    • Lee Grant

      Cheika wrote it with his quotes, but the punctuation was a challenge.

  • Redsfan1

    Good article. I hope the Tahs get up. Jake White’s becoming more annoying every week. He needs to be put back in his box.

    • Pedro

      Redsfan supports tahs?

      • Nutta

        The enemy of my enemy…

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    If the team can play even half as well as Cheika can respond, then we’re a real chance of causing an upset in Canberra.

  • Alan H

    Excellent article. Better than the commercial press/sites. Thanks!

  • J-Rugby

    I am a 100% Reds man … But Saturday night I will have a patch of light blue on my sleeve … Come on Tahs get it together for once!

    • Pedro

      100% reds men don’t say shit like that.

  • Cyclopath

    Great stuff, Lee. Quotes are only as good as the context in which they are used.

  • Pedro

    No prediction? Here’s mine brumbies by 19. Too much class and too well drilled. Tahs have to wait another weak to come good, it will happen.

    • Pedro

      I was wrong, poor tahs.

ACT Brumbies

Voted most valuable member of the G&GR Forum since records began - Ed.

More in ACT Brumbies

Rebels v Brumbies-1

Rebels claim maiden win over the Brumbies in Canberra

Steve LenthallApril 18, 2015
Rebels v Brumbies-8

Match Preview – Brumbies vs Rebels

oztimmayApril 17, 2015
Robbie Coleman opens  the scoring

Brumbies mid-season report card

Steve LenthallApril 15, 2015
Photo credit: Steve McLeod

Super Rugby Teams Round 10 2015

Shane SullivanApril 15, 2015
david pocock

David Pocock turnover masterclass video

Matt RowleyApril 14, 2015
David Pocock Brumbies_Cheetahs_040415-1

Pocock to remain chained to Eden Park goalpost until “around November”

Dismal PillockApril 11, 2015
Brumbies v Blues 04_04_2014_0245

Brumbies suffer the Blues in Auckland

Steve LenthallApril 10, 2015
Brumbies v Blues 04_04_2014_0274

Preview: Brumbies v. Blues

Steve LenthallApril 9, 2015
Henry Speight 5293172-3x2-940x627

Super Rugby Teams Round 9 2015

Shane SullivanApril 8, 2015