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

REDS TEAM

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!

 

BRUMBIES TEAM

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

KEY STORYLINES

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.

PREDICTION

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

 

MATCH DETAILS

Brumbies (courtesy of Rugby.com.au) 

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

Replacements:

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

Reds

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

Replacements:

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:
Rugby
@Ben_Marczyk

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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