Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The ACT Brumbies will be strong favourites to maintain an undefeated start to the Super Rugby AU season as they welcome the NSW Waratahs to Canberra in Round 2. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of what promises to be a thrilling match starting from 7:45pm (AEDT).
This rivalry goes back many years and even though they suffered a brutal loss in the opening round, the Tahs will come back swinging hard.
The Brumbies had a solid start to the competition with a controlled away win over the Western Force. They didn’t set the world on fire by any means but the win was never really in doubt. The key partnership of Nic White and Noah Lolesio worked well, with some lovely moments that cut the defence open.
The team for this week is almost exactly the same as the one that started things off in Perth. There is one change up front as Connal McInerney replaces Folau Fainga’a because of a toe injury.
With this settled side we should look for the key combinations to develop further, especially the centre pairing of Len Ikitau and Irae Simone. They looked good in Round 1 and could become a scary proposition if they keep developing.
For the Waratahs, there’s a bit more change for fans to get their heads around. Sadly for the club, skipper Jake Gordon is out for a while and will be replaced by 27-year-old Tahs debutant Jack Grant. Grant and flyhalf Will Harrison will get a lot of attention from the fans, the pundits and the Brumbies’ back row and it could be a very difficult night for them.
Harrison – who came up through the representative ranks with opposite number Lolesio – had a disappointing game last week. He played too deep and he seemed very passive for the whole game.
Other changes for the NSW men include the arrival of Mark Nawaqanitawase and Tepai Moeroa to the back line and the movement of Alex Newsome to centre. Newsome will also wear the captain’s armband.
Up front the Tahs will need to really step up their performance if they want to compete with the home side.
The return of Lachie Swinton in the back row will bring some aggression that could put the Brumbies off their game, but he can’t do this alone and the whole pack will need to support him on his mission to wreck and destroy.
It doesn’t look good for the Tahs. In the previous 17 games when the Brumbies have been at home, they’ve won 16 of them, and in the previous two, they’ve won by an average of over 30 points.
Add in last week’s form and the lack of first-choice players and Saturday night could get very ugly for them.
Brumbies by 15.
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.45pm (AEDT)
Betting: Brumbies $1.12, Waratahs $6.80
15. Tom Banks, 14. Andy Muirhead, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Irae Simone, 11. Mack Hansen, 10. Noah Lolesio, 9. Nic White, 8. Pete Samu, 7. Jahrome Brown, 6. Rob Valetini, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 4. Darcy Swain, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 2. Connal McInerney, 1. James Slipper.
Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Nick Frost, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa.
15. Jack Maddocks, 14. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13. Alex Newsome (c), 12. Tepai Moeroa, 11. James Ramm, 10. Will Harrison, 9. Jack Grant, 8. Jack Dempsey, 7. Carlo Tizzano, 6. Lachie Swinton, 5. Jack Whetton, 4. Sam Caird, 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2. Tom Horton, 1. Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16. David Porecki, 17. Te Tera Faulkner, 18. Sio Tatola, 19. Jeremy Williams, 20. Hugh Sinclair, 21. Henry Robertson, 22. Tane Edmed, 23. Triston Reilly.