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Reds vs Brumbies
Super Rugby, 7 July, 2017
|Fulltime - Reds 16, Brumbies 15|
|Referee: Brendon Pickerill|
|Touch judges: Nic Berry & Rohan Hoffmann|
|TMO: Ian Smith|
The Brumbies head up to Brisbane to take on the Reds, reigniting hostilities in the Australian Super Rugby conference after the June Test series. Join The Roar for live scores and blog updates from 7:45pm AEST.
Much of the pre-game speculation focused on Christian Lealiifano’s potential return to action after his battle with leukaemia.
Coach Stephen Larkham has resisted the urge to include him on the bench, instead favouring Nigel Ah Wong and Andrew Smith as his backline reserves.
Despite playing in ACT club rugby as well as an exhibition match for the Brumbies during the international break, Lealiifano remains short of match fitness.
The only change to the starting 15 sees Scott Sio back in the front row. Another long-term absentee, Argentina halfback Tomas Cubelli, returns via the bench after injuring his knee in pre-season.
For the home side, Rob Simmons plays his farewell home match at blindside flanker, covering for Hendrik Tui who returned from Japan duty worse for wear.
Scott Higginbotham also misses out through injury, replaced at 8 by Adam Korczyk.
Stephen Moore starts at hooker and captain for his 176th cap, taking him ahead of Keven Mealamu into outright second for all-time Super Rugby appearances (Wyatt Crockett leads with 183).
In the backs, Campbell Magnay deputises at 13 for Samu Kerevi, while Izaia Perese returns on the wing fresh from carving up the under-20s.
The last encounter between these sides served up a thumping 43-10 win for the Brumbies in Canberra.
The Brumbies are also carrying in some kind of form here, winning their last three, while the Reds have just one win from their last five (and that came against the lowly Rebels).
The Reds have shown glimpses of cohesive rugby at times this season, but that’s clutching at straws.
The Brumbies, meanwhile, are now guaranteed to top the group and make the finals, so they’ll be on a mission to build momentum.
Before the international break got in the way, they were just hitting form.
Brumbies by 10.
Join The Roar for live scores and blog updates from 7:30pm AEST.