Planet Rugby

Preview: Brumbies v Bulls

28th March 2013 21:07

Share:

henry speight brumbies bulls

Wing threat: Henry Speight

After their unbeaten run finished in Cape Town, the Brumbies return to Canberra looking to get back to winning ways against the Bulls.

Last season's clash between the two sides at Loftus saw the Bulls sneak home 36-34 against the up and coming Brumbies side, but the Australian side are underdogs no more.

Top of the Super Rugby table and Australian conference with four wins out of five, the Brumbies have kicked on from last season's impressive potential, building a squad packed full of young talent that has even been boosted by the return of Wallaby veteran George Smith, offsetting the bitter loss of David Pocock for the season due to injury.

Scrum-half Nic White comes into the starting XV but there is no return for speedster Jesse Mogg. Scott Fardy and debutant Etienne Oosthuizen will form a new-look second row.

The Brumbies came unstuck against the Stormers driving maul last weekend in Cape Town, but Jake White feels his side possess more than enough power upfront to combat a sizeable Bulls pack this weekend, who arrive with the worst scrum success rate in the tournament on 81%.

"We are comfortable enough that our team is big and strong enough against anybody and we know exactly what the Bulls are going to bring to us," said White.

"We played the Bulls at Loftus last year so we know what worked against them and what didn't. At least I know the players know at the back of their minds what's coming."

The Bulls meanwhile will arrive in Canberra after a subdued showing against the Reds in Brisbane, where the efforts to win the match came all too late after JJ Englebrecht was forced into touch going for the corner.

Truth be told, the Bulls would have been lucky to have taken a result away from Suncorp given their performance.

Three wins from five matches so far leave the Pretorians sitting behind the Sharks at the top of the South African conference, but injuries picked up against the Reds will deprive them of Flip Van Der Merwe and Grant Hattingh, with Wilhelm Steenkamp and Jean Cook called up.

Morné Steyn remains a resourceful source of points with 71 so far - second in the championship behind the Chiefs' Gareth Anscombe - and the Bulls need him at his most accurate if they are to avoid a winless tour following losses to the Crusaders and Reds.

All eyes will be on centre Jan Serfontein as the South African U20 star makes his first start in Super Rugby after two outings off the bench. Touted as a future Springbok, Serfontein is one of two changes to the backline along with winger Jürgen Visser, whilst Juandré Kruger starts in the second row.

"He [Jake White] has got a good understanding of the Bulls and mentally, they will be ready for Saturday," said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

"When they played here, they suffocated the opposition. They squeezed their opponents into turnovers and in South Africa, they showed what they could do with front-foot ball."

Prediction: Unstuck in Cape Town, expect the Brumbies to get back to winning ways against a physical Bulls side who are at the end of a tiring tour. Brumbies by 7.

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

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jürgen Visser, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Francois Venter.

Date: Saturday, March 30
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Kick-off: 19:40 local (08:40 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058