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University of Canberra Brumbies players Stephen Moore and Ian Prior are gearing up for another Australian challenge this weekend when they face off against their old team mates from the Queensland Reds.
Both Moore and Prior have proud histories with Queensland – Moore earning 54 caps for the Reds while Prior had his rookie season and won a championship in Brisbane last year.
They are just two of 12 University of Canberra Brumbies players with history or roots to Queensland who have made the journey to the ACT to further their rugby careers.
For many of Queensland’s finest-former players, the Brumbies has traditionally been a place they have been able to move to develop their game. Former Brumbies Mark Chisholm, Peter Ryan, Gene Fairbanks and Mitchell Chapman all made positive impacts on their careers by moving south.
“I grew up in Queensland playing rugby but my heart is in Canberra now, with the Brumbies and with this group. The rugby program that the coaching staff have put in place here makes Canberra the best place for me to develop as a player, and I know all of the guys who have moved to the Brumbies this year feel the same way,” Prior said.
“We’ll be looking to bounce back after a close loss, but so will the Reds. They’ll be hurting after the last few weeks and wanting to perform in front of their home crowd.
“They’re a little bit down, but they’ll still be fighting hard. It will be interesting heading to the opposition change rooms for the first time on Friday but I’m looking forward to it. It will be a new experience running onto Suncorp first.”
This Friday night will be the Reds first game back at Suncorp Stadium in four weeks after a tough tour of South Africa and a returning match in Perth. While they experienced limited success on the road, University of Canberra Brumbies are under no illusions of how difficult this weekend will be. The Reds not have not lost four games in a row since 2009.
Despite last weekend’s narrow loss to the Sharks, the University of Canberra Brumbies remain on top of the Australian Conference, five points clear of the Reds and the Waratahs.
Moore said it was only a matter of time before the Reds started to turn their season around.
“I know quite a few of the guys in that Reds squad and they’ll be stinging from those three losses and they’ll be wanting to put it right,” Moore said.
“They’ve got a lot of injuries in key areas which hasn’t helped them at all, and when they played the Bulls and the Force, both sides really turned up and played well.
“The local derbies have an extra edge to them this year, particularly with our conference being so tight. We went up there last year and put in a good performance and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same this year.
“As far as competition points go it’s crucial to beat the other Australian teams. We’ll have to improve if we want to hang onto that top spot.”
University of Canberra Brumbies v Reds
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Steve Walsh