Two Australian sides both still in the fight for the conference win, that is what we will have when the Brumbies travel to face the Waratahs this weekend.
The Waratahs have been again the most disappointed team for the Aussies and have to fight now hard to make the playoffs.
The Waratahs had a lot of off the field issues this year from the Folau saga to player being arrested for drinking and driving but that needs to put behind them if they want to have a say still in the competition.
They were able to do enough last week to beat the Rebels and got the necessary win but they now need to get two bonus point wins in their last two games to ensure a playoff spot.
The tight middle log has made it difficult to predict who will make those wild card spots and I suspect we will have to wait for the last round of matches to see who has made it this year.
What makes this such a difficult game is that the Brumbies is not assured top spot yet for the Aussie conference so we can expect a test like approach from both teams.
McKellar only made two changes to his side for this weekend which see Muirhead starting on the wing and Valetini wil start for the first time since round 5.
The Brumbies have a settled side and one that have been improving with each game this season. What has been good to see that they are willing to go through the phases wearing the opposition down to get over the whitewash.
There pack have been great again this year and they have one of the most dangerous rollings mauls in the competition.
It will be interesting to see how the two packs wil match up in this game and the focus point will be the match up between Christian Lealifano and Foley.
Waratahs coach Gibson has named an unchanged side from the one that beat the Rebels.
Expect the unexpected to maybe happen in the game on Saturday.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Brumbies have won five of their last six Super Rugby matches against the NSW Waratahs (L1), including their last three meetings in NSW.
- The NSW Waratahs have won five of their last six Australian derbies in Super Rugby at home (L1); their only defeat in that span coming against the Brumbies.
- The Brumbies have won their last four Super Rugby games on the bounce; the last time they won more was a six-game streak to round out their 2007 campaign.
- The NSW Waratahs boast a tackle success rate of 87% in Super Rugby 2019, the highest of any team in the competition and two percentage points higher than the Brumbies (85%).
- Only the Jaguares’ Guido Petti Pagadizaval (63) has won more lineouts (inc. steals) than Brumbies’ duo Sam Carter (60) and Rory Arnold (59).
Prediction: The Waratahs seems to be on a roll, but for some reason I am drawn to the Brumbies, have no real reason but Brumbies by 7
Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damian Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Tautalatasi Tasi, 23 Cam Clark.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Lealuaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright.