Brumbies vs Wales tour match: Live scores, blog
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With the Brumbies looking to maintain their conference-leading form during the June recess, and Wales looking to atone for their loss to the Wallabies, eyes are on Canberra Stadium for tonight’s tour match. Join us from 7:30pm AEST.
And with Fox Sports curiously choosing not to broadcast the game (how hard could it be?), The Roar will be one of the few outlets where you can get all the action live.
Both sides have gone to the far reaches of their squads and beyond for this game, with the Brumbies calling onto the bench Tuggeranong Vikings captain Beau Mokoputo and teammate JP Pradaud, a 2011 Australian Under 20’s rep. Wales have recalled Melbourne Rebels captain Gareth Delve.
Delve comes into the Welsh squad as an injury replacement for No. 8 Toby Falatau, who suffered a broken hand in Saturday’s Test and will head home for treatment.
The Brumbies will be without their Wallaby contingent from Brisbane (Alexander, Hooper, McCabe, Moore, and White), as well as squad members Dan Palmer and regular Brumbies captain Ben Mowen. Joe Tomane’s injury at Wallabies training will keep him out for anywhere up to six weeks, but initial training squad member Jesse Mogg has been named on the Brumbies bench.
This leaves a side even less well known than the Brumbies were at the start of the Super Rugby season. However, there’s still a bit of talent floating around, and assistant coach Stephen Larkham says the side is treating this as “just another Super Rugby game.”
“It’s a very good opportunity for the guys to play against an international side, [because] it rarely comes around. Wales played against an ACT side a number of years ago, and those guys still remember that opportunity, so these guys that play will always remember playing a side who is arguably one of the in-form sides in the world at the moment,” Larkham said in preview to tonight’s game.
“The way we’re playing at Super level is similar to the way we’re going to play [against Wales]. So for the guys, it’s really just preparation as usual for a Super Rugby match. We’re going out there to make a name for ourselves on the international stage.”
Across the board, the Brumbies have named players looking to make the most of the opportunity of a match against top-class opposition. Hooker Anthony Hegarty and prop Rhaudri Murphy (who switches to loose-head), as well as young tight-head Scott Sio, will relish the chance to pit themselves against a Welsh front row which has a combined 53 appearances in the scarlet jersey.
The Brumbies welcome Colby Fainga’a back into the starting line-up at openside, while Peter Kimlin at blindside and Ita Vaea at No. 8 complete a pretty handy backrow.
Interestingly, the Brumbies have rested locks Scott Fardy and Sam Carter, when this game might have been the ideal chance for both players to push for the Wallaby squad places that they were a tad unlucky to miss when first named. Leon Power and Ben Hand will start in their places.
Hand has been granted the honour of captaining the Brumbies tonight, recognition for a distinguished career with the club that winds up this year. Hand will join French second division club Grenoble at the completion of the Super Rugby season.
Ian Prior and Zack Holmes will lead a reasonably strong backline, with regular outside centre Andrew Smith moving one spot in, Tevita Kuridrani coming in at 13, and Robbie Coleman at fullback. Kimami Sitauti and Cam Crawford earn ACT caps on the wings.
For Wales, lock Luke Charteris is the only player from the starting XV on Saturday night backing up, while hooker Ken Owens, flyhalf Rhys Preistland, and winger Alex Cuthbert move to the bench. Ospreys lock Ian Evans is also on the bench, having joined the tour late after his wedding in Greece.
Alun Wyn Jones, who also assumes the Welsh captaincy in place of the rested Sam Warburton, will join Charteris in the second row.
Bath-bound prop Paul James is partnered by Ospreys teammate Richard Hibbard at hooker and Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones in the front row, while flanker Josh Turnbull joins Scarlets teammate and No. 8 Aaron Shingler and Ospreys opensider Justin Tipuric in the back row.
Australian fans may recall Tipuric deputised for Warburton in the Sporing Tour clash in Cardiff back in November.
64-cap Welsh flyhalf James Hook will steer the ship along with young scrumhalf Rhys Webb, who earned his second cap against the Barbarians just before Wales left for Australia.
Ashley Beck, who in his Test debut produced the stellar offload for Cuthbert’s try on Saturday night, is joined by Ospreys teammate Andrew Bishop in the centres. Aled Brew, Harry Robinson, and Liam Williams form the back three, with Robinson and Williams having just debuted against the Baabaas a fortnight ago as well.
The match kicks off at 7:30pm AEST.
Brett McKay is a former non-tackling scrumhalf and not-quite-1st Grade middle order stalwart. A rugby and cricket expert for The Roar since July 2009 (having joined in Sept 2008), Brett has written for Inside Rugby and Cricket Australia, and is also PLAY Canberra's rugby correspondent. He tweets from @BMcSport
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