Reds present huge challenge in UC Brumbies season opener

The University of Canberra Brumbies are preparing for a massive test to open their 2014 campaign with the Reds due to arrive in Canberra on Friday ahead of Saturday’s season starter at GIO Stadium Canberra.

In 2013 the UC Brumbies managed to get the wood over the Reds with a win and a bye, but the new year presents new opportunities and the Reds will be hungry to take a step towards reclaiming the Rod Macqueen Cup on Saturday.

The corresponding fixture last year gave the UC Brumbies an edge heading into the rest of the campaign, but Head Coach Stephen Larkham said the coming fixture would be a tougher encounter than what the team had encountered in 2013.

“It’s a big step up for us, first up to be facing the Reds. Against the Highlanders in that first trial we were probably caught out and taught a bit of a lesson with our intensity a bit and that’s something we’ll need to improve on,” Larkham said.

“It’s important to start the season well – we aren’t resting on results from last year we realise this is a totally new opportunity, but winning games first up is important for confidence and rhythm, that’s why teams concentrate so hard on the first round.

“We did have a successful year last year, we know the formula that worked for us last year and we won’t be going too far away from that this year, but in saying that we can certainly look at improving how we play out of our own half.”

Until 2011, the UC Brumbies held the wood firmly over the Reds, with just one loss since the competition began, back in 1999. But since their title winning year in 2011, the Reds have posted wins in 2011, 2012 (both home and away) and a 19-all draw in 2013.

That diminishing record over the Reds hasn’t been lost by UC Brumbies players or supporters and the club is expecting a big crowd to run out on Saturday to ensure the Rod Macqueen Cup stays in the ACT for another 12 months.

Saturday, 22 February
UC Brumbies v Reds
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.40pm