Brumbies Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher put it in a nutshell when he said: “There’s a lot at stake, both teams need a win here against an Australian rival.”
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika also shared some wise words with the media this week when he suggested the game could be so close that it will be a case of “who blinks first”. The Tahs, one of three unbeaten teams, have scored 10 tries in their two outings – suggesting they have again found their attacking mojo. And while the Brumbies may not yet be the smooth outfit that played in the Final last year, they have improved steadily since their loss to the Reds in their opening match.
“To win on Saturday we are going to need an 80 minute effort. “They [Waratahs] are a side with a lot of forward power who can supply plenty of opportunities for their backs.
“It’s important for us to have our own plan and detail right so we are prepared to counter that and win the game.” Saturday’s match will be the 23rd time the Brumbies have faced off against the Waratahs, with NSW holding an advantage over the Canberra-based side 12 wins to 10 with no draws. The Waratahs have not won in Canberra since 2011 and the last time the two teams met in Canberra the Brumbies walked away 35-6 winners. The Waratahs coach, Cheika, said the Brumbies – Australia’s best-performing franchise last season – will be a real challenge at home.
“The question for us is do we try and not make a mistake or do we counter attack hard and play our best footy….I think you know what we are going to choose, so we’ll see how good we are.”
2013: Waratahs won 28-22, Sydney
2013: Brumbies won 35-6, Canberra
2012: Brumbies won 19-15, Sydney
2012: Brumbies won 23-6, Canberra
2011: Waratahs won 41-7, Sydney
2011: Waratahs won 29-22, Canberra
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Jean-Pierre Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Locky McCaffrey, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Michael Dowsett, 23 Lionel Cronje.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements – from: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Rob Horne, 24 Matt Carraro, 25 Jonno Lance.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman, Graham Cooper
TMO: Peter Marshall