14 Feb PREVIEW: Brumbies Take On Chiefs In Final Super Rugby Trial
Pre-season is done, the plan is set, a final trial game is all that’s left for the Plus500 Brumbies preparation for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
In 2013, the Chiefs beat the Brumbies in a grand-final that will live on the memories of all Brumbies fan, so while there are no Super Rugby table points on offer, the word friendly is not one I would use to describe this contest.
Especially when you consider the quality in both sides with both Brumbies Head-Coach Dan McKellar and his Chiefs counterpart Colin Cooper naming close to full-strength teams.
The Brumbies side appears to be beautifully balanced. The hard running and precocious ball-carrying of rookie Rob Valetini partnered by Rupa Medal of excellence winner Isi Naisarani will provide the necessary go forward ball that this stacked back-line needs to operate.
Captain Christian Lealiifano will have the task of marshalling a set of backs which includes a turn at Full-back for Tom Banks, a role we may see Banks play frequently this year. 2018 Recruit Chance Peni starts on the left wing, after impressing at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
The rest of the side is littered with experienced Brumbies players.
Scott Sio, Josh Mann-Rea and Alaalatoa form a front-row likely to play against the Sunwolves in round one. Rory Arnold and Co-Captain Sam Carter are the locks. Lachlan McCaffrey starts at seven in his second stint in the Capital.
Joe Powell wins this round of a selection battle for the number nine shirt, the young Wallaby will have a fiiting partner outside him in Lealiifano who leads the Brumbies.
Kyle Godwin and Wallaby Tevita Kuridrani form a centre paring worthy of any side.
Thirteen players have been named on the bench and will all play a part at some stage during what is likely to be a high-intensive work-out ahead of the big kick-off.
The team have been training in the intense heat of their Caloundra base since Sunday having competed in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens at Suncorp Stadium across the weekend.
The Brumbies tussle with the Chiefs in 2017 was somewhat of an anti-climax.
With a home quarter-final berth already secured, the Brumbies made wholesale changes to the side that ran out against the Reds the previous week and were beaten comfortably by the Chiefs.
The Brumbies travel to the Chiefs late in the season again this year, hopefully this trial and that Round 17 clash will help the Brumbies avenge some of the hurt the Chiefs have caused them in recent years.
Belief is building amongst Brumbies supporters that this group could achieve something special in 2018. With their opening fixture just ten days away, the Brumbies will look to add the finishing touches as they do battle against the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast.
- Scott SIO
- Josh MANN-REA
- Allan ALAALATOA
- Rory ARNOLD
- Sam CARTER
- Rob VALETINI
- Lachlan MCCAFFREY
- Isi NAISARANI
- Joe POWELL
- Christian LEALIIFANO (c)
- Chance PENI
- Kyle GODWIN
- Tevita KURIDRANI
- Henry SPEIGHT
- Tom BANKS
- Atunaisa Moli
- Liam Polwart
- Nepo Laulala
- Brodie Retallick
- Dominic Bird
- Mitchell Brown
- Sam Cane (cc)
- Taleni Seu
- Brad Weber
- Damian McKenzie
- Solomon Alaimalo
- Alex Nankivell
- Anton Lienert-Brown
- Tim Nanai-Williams
- Shaun Stevenson
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi,
Wednesday 14 February
Plus500 Brumbies vs Chiefs
(Sunshine Coast Stadium, Kawana.)
Livestream available here, on Brumbies Website