Brumbies aim to extend streak in SA
Jake White’s Brumbies look to equal another record and extend another when they take on the Stormers in Cape Town this weekend following one of their finest performances.
The Brumbies lead the competition with four wins from four games and if they defeat the Stormers on Sunday morning (AEDT) it will match the Canberra-based team’s best start to a season.
They’re also aiming to extend their Super Rugby record for most consecutive away wins to eight.
White has limited his team changes to just two, saying they want to replicate their first half against the Sharks in Durban last weekend when they turned on a four-try blitz.
Dan Palmer will start at prop to give Ben Alexander a rest and Ian Prior takes over at halfback for the injured Nic White.
“We won’t change much from the first 40 minutes of last week,” said White.
“The idea will be to play a high-tempo ball in hand game that asks questions of the opposing defence.”
That won’t be easy.
Despite their slow start to the season with two away losses, the Stormers have won the South African conference for the past two years and are renowned for their punishing and solid defence.
They also haven’t lost a regular round home game since round 17 in 2011.
And while they go into the match without injured 2012 South African rugby player of the year Bryan Habana, Brumbies inside centre Christian Lealiifano noted they still had plenty of firepower in their backline.
Elusive Juan de Jongh will start at outside centre for his first game of the season for the Stormers, with captain and fellow Springbok Jean de Villiers shifting to inside centre, while livewire winger Gio Aplon is always a threat.
However the Brumbies are happy with the way their own backline is developing, notably the maturing partnership between Lealiifano and five eighth Matt Toomua who both had their 2012 seasons cruelled by early injuries.
The Brumbies backline has scored the second most tries (12) this season, behind last year’s champions the Chiefs (13), and three times as many as the Stormers (4).
“If we score tries I can’t see the Stormers winning against us with kicks,” White said.© AAP 2013
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