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Super Rugby final: Ones to watch

02nd August 2013 08:55

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ones to watch

Who will have the decisive influence?

They might not all be the biggest names in their respective line-ups, but we pick out eight men who need to come to the fore on Saturday.

Ben Mowen:
It's not often that a loose forward tops the tables in the line-out stats, but Mowen has fielded more line-outs than any other man in Super Rugby. Such a figure illustrates the all-round game that Mowen provides the Brumbies.

With George Smith taking care of the pilfering and Peter Kimlin the muscle in the loose trio, Mowen is able to quietly go about his business of doing a bit of everything; a consistently menacing opponent.

Mowen's leadership duties of course will be of the utmost important on Saturday. There is no doubting he is an astute captain, and he will lead by example. Don't be surprised to see Mowen as one of the stronger forces in the match.

Liam Messam:
Much of the focus heading into the match will be the number seven in the Brumbies jersey, one George Smith, but a flank on the other side of the contest - albeit playing a different role - is no slouch either.

The Chiefs co-captain led the massive defensive effort last week against the Crusaders, making all of the 16 tackles he attempted and this has been a consistent theme for the All Black who averages more than 12 tackles a game. Messam has also been strong with the ball in hand, making more metres and clean breaks this season than Smith.

Clyde Rathbone:
Joe Tomane must be wondering quite how he finds himself on the pitch for the Wallabies but on the bench for the Brumbies, but Jake White seems to see something in Clyde Rathbone that isn't obvious on the surface. The winger's stats aren't particularly spectacular, he's been a consistent campaigner since his return to the mix but it's this solidity and experience that White sees as a crucial characteristic.

The Durban-born player has been in a final before and won it, with a 2004 winner's medal in his collection, and he will need to come to the fore against the Chiefs, particularly on defence where he will be faced with the task of stopping a number of strong runners.

Hika Elliot:
Many of the Chiefs struggles last week against the Crusaders came as a result of their failure to win solid line-out ball - or any at all. It was revealed after the match that Elliot had been struggling to recover from a bout of food poisoning and one could certainly see the impact of this in his performance.

The Brumbies are renowned for their line-out prowess and with a success rate of just 79%, the Chiefs will be under heavy pressure in this area and Elliot needs to step up and show why he is an All Black. If they are unable to win front-foot ball for their backs to work with, the Chiefs may find themselves struggling to get going.

Nic White:
Nic White certainly hasn't done his reputation any harm in recent weeks, with the scrum-half's ability to control proceedings and dictate with the boot really catching the eye. This has taken some pressure off Matt Toomua and the number ten has benefited in that he's been given more of a chance to run with the ball and set the back-line on its way. White's boot - both out of hand and with long distance place kicking - will need to be at its best.

Andrew Horrell:
Horrell's selection at inside centre since his return from injury is an interesting move from Dave Rennie. The versatile Horrell has responded with a few handy performances, but he'll need to be a more active presence against the Chiefs. As a full-back, Horrell has developed a solid boot, and this will come into play on Saturday, with the number 12 sure to look for space behind a flat Brumbies defensive line.

Ben Alexander:
Much has been made of Alexander's scrummaging technique over the past few weeks, with the experienced campaigner getting the better of many an opponent - in illegal fashion according to some. The Wallaby's habit of binding incorrectly is something that will certainly have been brought to the attentions of referee Craig Joubert, and Joubert's ability to properly police the scrum will be a key factor.

  • Brumbies Fixtures
  • Table
Australian Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621