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Preview: Brumbies v Waratahs

08th March 2013 12:20

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Dave Dennis and Nick White waratahs v brumbies

Brumbies v 'Tahs: Aussie rivarly resumes at Canberra Stadium

There will be no love lost when these two Aussie rivals go head to head on Saturday, with the Brumbies looking to keep their unbeaten record this season intact.

The Waratahs make the difficult trip to Australia's capital against a resurging Brumbies side that is slowly gaining confidence, thanks to the masterful management of coach Jake White.

The Sydneysiders will seek solace in the second-half performance last weekend against the Rebels. After a slow first half, they began to inject some urgency and attack into their game to get the crowd onto its feet.

They will hope to play a more prolonged period of positive rugby, as the Brumbies will not be as forgiving as the Rebels have been and could be trailing by a significant margin quite early - if they start again slow.

The Brumbies go into Saturday's encouter welcoming back one of its favourite sons, 110-Test cap Wallaby George Smith, on a loan deal from Japan until May and will feature off the bench at some stage.

The Brumbies also welcome back Wallaby skipper David Pocock, as well as winger Henry Speight who has recovered from a rib injury, as their only other change from the side that defeated the Rebels two weeks ago.

The remarkable feat for White is that the Brumbies have a completely fit 35-man roster for the first time since he joined the club.

The visiting Waratahs, however, never seem to have the fortune of a clean bill of health and will play without the services of Berrick Barmes as well as influential Bernard Foley.

Ben Volavola's impressive cameos off the bench has earned him a start and could be the spark the Waratahs have been craving straight from the kick-off. His introdution shifts Israel Foulau to the right wing, in place of Tom Kingston who is relegated to the bench.

Prediction: It will be hard to bet against a full-strength Brumbies outfit at home and full of confidence. We feel the Waratahs, whilst showing glimpses of excellence, won't have the ability to hold back their hosts this weekend as they attempt to remain top of the standings and Australian conference. Brumbies to win by 10!

The teams:

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

Waratahs: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Greg Peterson, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Pat McCutcheon, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Lachie Turner.

Date: Saturday, 9 March
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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1Sharks727
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9Bulls818
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PosTeamPPts
1Brumbies825
2Western Force823
3Waratahs720
4Reds816
5Melbourne Rebels816
New Zealand Conference
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1Chiefs724
2Hurricanes821
3Crusaders718
4Blues816
5Highlanders615
South African Conference
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PosTeamPPts
1Sharks727
2Bulls717
3Lions816
4Cheetahs89
5Stormers66