Planet Rugby

Preview: Brumbies v Kings

04th April 2013 12:09

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One win: The Kings

The high-flying Brumbies take on the lowly Kings when the tournament newbies make their first trip to the Australian capital.

Having lost just one game thus far, the tournament leaders will be out to bag maximum points against a team that are second-last on the table and who have won just once this season.

The Kings' sole victory came in their opening round, but that's not to say they've been the whipping boys since then. Far from it in fact.

They've won plenty of respect and a few fans along the way after running the Sharks and Chiefs close in Port Elizabeth, and kept respectable scorelines away from home against the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

The Kings have also shown they can do more than just tackle, and have surprised many with some impressive five-pointers whilst on tour and certainly left Hurricanes fans chewing their fingernails for three quarters of the match.

With the struggling Rebels to follow after their visit to Canberra, Alan Soloman's troops will settle for any points they can get before they return to the comfort of Nelson Mandela Stadium.

Whether they can keep the pressure on for a second week running though against the Brumbies remains to be seen. The Kings have proved to be an unpredictable bunch, and one positive aspect of their play that has stuck out the most is their never-say-die attitude.

And the Brumbies, who escaped with a lucky 23-20 win over the Bulls last weekend, will do well not to take their next South African opposition lightly as they try to keep their lead on the overall ladder and in the Australian conference.

"The Kings have been able to score plenty of points this season and were right with the Hurricanes last week until the last 20 minutes of the game so there's no doubt they'll provide a big test for our team," said Brumbies coach Jake White.

The former Springbok coach continues to tinker his line-up to ensure he is using fresh players for their bid to make the finals. Amongst the several changes made by White is the return of Wallabies centre Pat McCabe, who has been injected straight into the starting XV despite playing just 30 minutes since November last year.

After this game, the Brumbies are away to the winless Highlanders and then the Reds - two crucial games which could define their season.

Prediction: Complacency appears to be the only factor standing in the Brumbies' way of victory. Other than that, all signs point to another Brumbies win... by 18 points!

The teams:

Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen (c), 5 Etienne Oosthuizen, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sam Carter, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Zack Holmes

Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Elric van Vuuren.

Date: Friday, April 5
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19:40 (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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2Crusaders718
3Hurricanes716
4Blues716
5Highlanders615
South African Conference
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PosTeamPPts
1Sharks727
2Bulls717
3Lions816
4Cheetahs89
5Stormers66