A bruising win over the Waratahs last weekend has set the tone for the rest of the season, but it has come at a cost for the Brumbies. Three key players – led by wing Henry Speight – picked up injuries in the match and won’t take the field on Saturday against the Stormers. In addition to Speight, prop Scott Sio and lock Leon Power, Wallaby centre Tevita Kuridrani is also unavailable after flying home to Fiji for a funeral.
Wallaby flyer Joe Tomane and centre Andrew Smith are handy replacements in the backs, while Cape Town-raised prop Jean-Pierre Smith and flank Jordan Smiler come into the pack, with Scott Fardy shifting from the side of the scrum to lock. Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham admitted his team is in for another tough test, especially they have not defeated the Stormers since 2010 in Cape Town – with losses in Canberra (2011) and Newlands (2013).
“Traditionally we find them very difficult to beat,” Larkham said. “They’ve had a tough start to the season and will be desperate for a win in Canberra to get some pay from this tour.” The Stormers are on the back-end of a tough Australasian tour, falling to the Crusaders and Chiefs before facing the Brumbies and Reds on their way back to the Republic.
Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot believes the hard work the players put in at training this week will put the team in good stead. “We’ve been really critical of ourselves, isolating where we need to perform to get the result we want,” Proudfoot said in an interview on the Stormers website. “On that note, the players have responded well at training [this week].
“You know, there’s not a lot of time to train when you’re on tour. You need to be accurate when you do and the players have responded well on that level.” The Stormers have won just once in seven games in Canberra. However, that win came in their previous encounter in Canberra (in 2011) and nine players – including captain Jean de Villiers and vice-captain Schalk Burger – are back for this fixture some three years later.
Proudfoot added: “We do take a good feeling out there [from last time out], but we know that this is probably Australia’s best side and they are playing well at the moment. We know it will be a very tough game. “We watched their game against the Waratahs, who they dominated, so it was a sobering experience to see that [having watched it together as a team]. We know what we have to do, the detail has been good this week and we hope to take our energy with us to Canberra.”
2013: Stormers won 35-22, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 16-3, Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 19-17, Cape Town
2009: Brumbies won 17-10, Canberra
2008: Stormers won 20-10, Cape Town
2007: Brumbies won 26-13, Canberra
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Stephan van der Walt, 23 Lionel Cronje.
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Juan de Jongh.’
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)