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Preview: Reds v Brumbies

18th April 2013 19:55

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reds v brumbies james horwill

Grunt: James Horwill

Australia's top two sides will face off in Brisbane on Saturday when the Reds host the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium.

With six wins each so far in 2013, the Brumbies' shock draw at home against the Kings is the only thing separating the two sides at the top of the Australian Conference.

The two sides previous encounter this season saw the Brumbies run out comfortable 24-6 winners over a weakened Reds side in Canberra, thanks to a double from Jesse Mogg.

Mogg has been one of the in-form stars in Australian rugby so far in 2013 and come into the match with four tries already this season to his name - only outscored by his Brumbies team-mate on the wing, Henry Speight, with five tries.

One of the top attacking sides - defensively the Brumbies have the worst tackle success rate in the league with 83.6 percent.

The breakdown however has been far more successful, winning 97 percent of rucks, a large proportion of which has come down to the influence of veteran George Smith.

Smith's arrival to cover the loss of David Pocock has worked out perfectly, with the 32-year-old now set to stay with the Brumbies until August and possibly face the Lions.

If he is to regain his place in the Australia squad, he will have to compete with young Queensland sensation Liam Gill.

The 20-year old has been in outstanding form for the Reds this season and will relish the challenge of taking on Smith's experience on Saturday, rather than be caught out by the sense of occasion.

Currently on a three-game winning streak, the Reds' best performance of the season so far came last week with their victory over the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium - running in four tries with Quade Cooper back to his elusive best.

That run of form will give the Reds huge confidence, despite the Brumbies strong record of seven wins out of nine in Brisbane.

The Brumbies make two tweaks to the side that will face the Reds as Fotu Auelua and Tevita Kuridani come in for Jordan Smiler and Andrew Smith, with Clyde Rathbone claiming a spot on the bench.

The Reds meanwhile welcome back Digby Ioane on the wing with Dom Shipperley amongst the replacements.

Prediction: After their blockbuster performance against the champion Chiefs last weekend, even though the Brumbies sit top of the Super Rugby table, the Reds are favourites to win this one and with it the Rod Macqueen Cup. Reds by 7.

The teams:

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22 Dom Shipperley.

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

Date: Saturday, 20 April
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19:40 (09:40 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Sharks727
2Brumbies825
3Chiefs724
4Western Force722
5Waratahs720
6Highlanders719
7Crusaders718
8Bulls818
9Lions816
10Hurricanes716
11Blues716
12Reds816
13Melbourne Rebels712
14Cheetahs89
15Stormers76