Hamilton – News24
Brumbies coach Jake White named an unchanged side to take on the defending champion Chiefs in Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Hamilton, the third week in a row he has put out the same side.
The Australians, who beat South Africa’s Cheetahs in a playoff two weeks ago and then stunned the Bulls in the semis in Pretoria last week, are aiming to become the first foreign team to win any kind of post-season match inNew Zealand.
Flank George Smith will be playing his fifth final in his 142nd and final match for the Canberra-based outfit as he bids to secure a third title after playing in both of the Brumbies’ previous triumphs in 2001 and 2004.
On the left wing, White has again gone for the experience of Clyde Rathbone, who also played in the 2004 final, over the threat of current Wallaby flyer Joe Tomane, who is on the bench.
“At this stage of the season it’s nice to be making consistent selections and keeping the same team together,” White said in a media release.
“I’m pleased with how the season has unfolded so far but we have one more challenge to overcome before we can be completely satisfied.”
Fans in the 25 000 sellout crowd at the Waikato Stadium can expect to see plenty of kicking from the Brumbies with scrumhalf Nic White, flyhalf Matt Toomua, centre Christian Lealiifano and fullback Jesse Mogg all handy with the boot.
The match is likely to be won or lost in the battle up front, however, where the likes of Smith, lock Scott Fardy and blindside Peter Kimlin will have to produce another huge effort.
The front row of Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Scott Sio had an oustanding game against the once formidable Bulls pack last week and will be reassured by the presence of referee Craig Joubert.
The South African was in charge in Australia’s second test victory over the British and Irish Lions in June when a Wallabies front row including Alexander and Moore gave the tourists a torrid time in the scrum.
White, who led South Africa to their 2007 World Cup triumph, knows his side will need every edge they can find to spark what would be a huge upset in Hamilton.
“They are the champions, they have been here before and are playing at home so for our guys to beat the Chiefs will take a huge effort,” White said.
“Our players have worked hard to get to this final and I can assure you they are not thinking of leaving here without another Brumbies championship.”
15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga or Robbie Robinson, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Substitutes: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson or Patrick Osborne.
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Substitutes: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 ndrew Smith, 22 Joe Tomane