Planet Rugby

Preview: Brumbies v Reds

15th February 2013 07:36

Share:

Jesse Mogg brumbies v reds

Excellent 2012: Jesse Mogg

The two main challengers for the Australian conference collide at Canberra Stadium on Saturday as the Brumbies host the Reds with 2012 on their mind.

It was a final-day loss to the Blues that deprived Jake White's men top spot in their group and ultimately they missed out on the play-off positions.

For the Reds they had a regular-season campaign that didn't produce a great deal of tries and in all honesty they didn't deserve to retain the title.

This season they have pivot Quade Cooper back and fully-fit but he's missing Will Genia alongside him for the opening rounds while Scott Higginbotham resides in Melbourne from here on in. That latter's switch is a blow to the cause as the big flanker was their second highest try-scorer during 2012.

Much will rest on the shoulders of young openside Liam Gill while James Horwill will soon return to the coalface, looking for form before the B&I Lions arrive. Horwill has already advised Red fly-half Cooper to do his talking on the pitch this season, which is a stark reminder that he won't tolerate nonsense.

Something the Brumbies are not is overconfident. What impresses about this Canberra franchise is their team spirit and collective drive, which was typified last year in a season when few thought they would threaten. We were all wrong as fresh faces like Jesse Mogg, Sam Carter and the ever-improving finisher Henry Speight caught the eye. While they lose another excellent prospect, Michael Hooper, they pick up a seasoned flanker in David Pocock.

The picture is a little different at the Suncorp Stadium, as the Reds go into their season opener without experienced players Radike Samo and Anthony Fainga'a, while they appear to be a tad light in squad depth. Running threat Luke Morahan is also absent this week so the full-back spot goes to Mike Harris in a side that enters the match as underdog. Aidan Toua will wear the number 13 shirt in the absence of Fainga'a while Jake Schatz is at eight.

What the Reds do possess in their corner, however, is the return of that man Cooper from his extended absence, which coincides with the addition of Richard Graham to their coaching team. Consequently, they are in some ways an unknown quantity from 2012 with the Brumbies now the most settled side hailing from Australia. How things change in twelve months ahead of a fixture some are even, at this early stage, predicting to be an eight-pointer.

Key battle: The battle at openside between David Pocock and Liam Gill excites. Pocock, 24, is where Gill, 20, wants to be while Michael Hooper will continue to knock on the Wallaby door. Australia is truly blessed with opensides right now - they have been for the last fifteen years - and this personal contest will be of close interest to head coach Robbie Deans. But with Brumbies coach Jake White having this week put his flanker in the same breath as Jonah Lomu and Richie McCaw, the favourite to take the plaudits on Saturday has to be Pocock, surely?

Prediction: We are on the Brumbies bandwagon for this and can't see their pack and wide threat coming out on the losing side. Brumbies by 8!

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, 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 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Colby Faingaa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Joseph Tomane, 22 Robbie Coleman.

Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Aidan Toua, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 3 James Slipper (c), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 James Hanson, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Chris F'Sautia.

Date: Saturday, February 16
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs WaspsExeter vs Wasps Preview
London Irish vs BathLondon Irish vs Bath Preview
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Preview
Scotland vs TongaScotland vs Tonga Preview
Romania vs CanadaRomania vs Canada Preview
Ireland vs AustraliaIreland vs Australia Preview
Wales vs New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Preview
England vs SamoaEngland vs Samoa Preview
France vs ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Preview
Sunday , November 23
Georgia vs JapanGeorgia vs Japan Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
Tonga 40 - 12 USATonga vs USA Report
Wales 17 - 13 FijiWales vs Fiji Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 18 - 20 ArgentinaItaly vs Argentina Report
Canada 13 - 23 SamoaCanada vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
LV= Cup
Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Sunday , November 9
Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish
More LV= Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720