2019 has been a crazy year already. The Brumbies beat the Chiefs comfortably in Round 2, 54-17 but weren’t able to back that win up last Friday against the ‘Canes.
What better way to get right back on the horse, than to travel to Melbourne and enact some revenge on the Rebels, who escaped GIO Stadium with victory in Round One.
STATE OF PLAY
It’s too early in the season to start talking league standings…..but we’re going to do it anyway.
The Brumbies enter Round Four two points behind the home-bird Rebels and one in front of the ‘Tahs.
Things haven’t gone perfectly in Brumbies country to start the year off, but given that we’ve faced two Kiwi sides, if we can go two from two in the next couple of games, we’ll be looking in great shape for a finals berth.
Headlining Dan’s selection for the Rebels trip is 21 year old Tom Wright’s inclusion at 12. The former Manly Sea-Eagle lit up Palmerston North late in the Round 3 piece, scoring his first Super Rugby try in an exciting cameo off the bench.
The only change in the front five sees Sam Carter come back in to partner Rory Arnold at Lock, while the backrow rejigs again with Rob Valetini going at Blindside, David Pocock at 7 and Tom Cusack at Number 8.
In the backs, 9, 10, 13 stand pat with Powell, Christian and Tevita all playing well to start the new season.
Andy Muirhead swaps wings to the left side to accommodate the return of the Fijian Flyer, Henry Speight who returns to the side. Tom Banks is the Brumbies fullback, once again.
In the finishers, Murray Douglas and Ryan Lonergan will look for their first gametime of the season. If required, Douglas will make his debut for the club, while local product Lonergan would make just his second appearance for the Brumbies should he see action at AAMI Park.
WORDS TO THE MEDIA
HEAD TO HEAD
Quade Cooper v Christian Lealiifano
A pair of 10’s who play the position very differently, but if there is anything these quality flyhalves share, it’s a desire to regain their Test-player status. Their personal battle will be fascinating, and will probably go a long way to deciding who comes out on top at AAMI Park.
- The Rebels have won their last three Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Brumbies, as many as they had won in their 12 meetings prior.
- Three of the last four Australian Super Rugby derbies involving the Rebels have been won by the away team on the day, with the Melbournians picking up two wins and two losses in that span.
- The Brumbies have conceded just 13 turnovers per game on average this season, fewer than any other side.
- Only the Bulls’ Rosko Speckman (8) has made more clean breaks in Super Rugby 2019 than the Brumbies’ Tevita Kuridrani (7).