Preview: Brumbies v Hurricanes

Date published: May 31 2013

Both the Brumbies and the Hurricanes will have plenty to play for when they do battle at Canberra Stadium on Friday.

Both the Brumbies and the Hurricanes will have plenty to play for when they do battle in Canberra on Friday.

The Brumbies are keen to consolidate their place at the top of the Australian conference while the 'Canes are chasing a play-off position.

The men from Wellington have had mixed fortunes throughout their campaign, winning six and losing six matches from 12 games played so far this season and are currently in ninth position on the table with 38 points – just four points behind the Crusaders and Blues who are in joint sixth spot.

They will be boosted by the return of their captain and centre Conrad Smith, as well as hooker Dane Coles, who are back after spending time on the sidelines with injuries.

Brumbies coach Jake White has predicted that the Hurricanes will change from their usual expansive style of play to a more forward orientated game for this encounter.

White believes the selection of Coles and lock James Broadhurst is an indication that the visitors will try to restrict play to their forwards, particularly as last year's clash between these sides in Wellington – which the Brumbies won 37-25 – saw the 'Canes scoring two tries from rolling mauls and one off the back of a five-metre scrum.

''They got a return on the maul and pick and drive game in the A-zone and will bring up a couple of those big guys to try and do that this year again,'' White told AAP.

''I'm assuming that they see a weakness there.

''By their selections it looks to me that's an area where they think they can have a crack at us.''

The Brumbies suffered a setback when they lost 28-22 to the Waratahs in Sydney two weeks ago but returned to the victory trail when they beat the Blues 20-13 in atrocious weather conditions in Auckland last weekend.

Keep an eye on their scrum-half Nic White who delivered a superb performance against the Blues.

The number nine's decision making played a huge role in that success and the 'Canes will have to keep him at bay if they want to stand a chance of being victorious.

Another Brumbies back who has done well this season is inside centre Christian Lealiifano, who is the third highest scorer in the competition with 158 points.

Amongst the home side's forwards, captain Ben Mowen's leadership and good form has been rewarded with a call-up to the Wallabies squad while veteran hooker Stephen Moore has also impressed throughout their campaign.

Prediction: Although the Hurricanes have the ability to beat any side in the competition, when they are firing on all cylinders, the Brumbies have proved that they are difficult to beat on their own turf. Brumbies to win by eight points!

The teams:

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19Jordan Smiler, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Brad Shields 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 James Marshall.

Time: 19:40 (10:40 BST, 9:40 GMT)
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)