Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The Brumbies host the Reds Saturday evening at GIO Stadium, Canberra. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm (AEDT).
Last week, the Reds got a one-week break. The Brumbies got another type of break, winning the match from a monster kick after the whistle by their 183 cm scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan. The Brumbies, playing at home, trailed for almost the entire match. They were at serious risk of losing their first match in a long while. Instead, they have now won all three matches.
The Reds are on a two-game streak. They handily defeated the undersized Waratahs. They almost lost to the Rebels, saved by an errant kick by the Rebels’ Matt To’omua at death. Just before this, the Reds finally stopped quick taps that cost lost-point opportunities. This decision led to tries off the set-piece, which is the Reds’ staple diet.
Both the Reds and Brumbies were exposed by the Rebels. The Melbournites proved their northern contemporaries had glaring weaknesses in attack and discipline.
Today the set-piece will be interesting, partly because both teams are good at it. Also because of the various personnel changes, especially losses for the Brumbies. Captain Allan Alaalatoa is out for three rounds for a red card. James Slipper is injured for five weeks, along with hooker Connal McInerney who is out for the season. The Reds will try to take advantage of this. But the Brumbies pack are still a potent team, both in the set-piece and the loose.
This is a good opportunity for Reds’ reserve tighthead Zane Nonggorr, known as Baby Thor, to shine. But Folau Fainga’a, who returns as hooker, will be there to stop him. The back-five battle will be world-class with Pete Samu and Harry Wilson vying for the coveted role of Wallaby eight. The same can be said for all players in the pack, save for the injured forwards.
The halves and centres from both sides are in a similarly hot contest. Reds and Rugby fans will also be excited with the debut of Suliasi Vunivalu, the heavier and likely faster version of the Rebels’ Marika Koroibete. Both men were taken from the Melbourne Rebels.
The Brumbies have some player disruption. But they have proven in the past that this does not really bother them. But if the Reds defend like how the Rebels did last week, they may win, however unlikely.
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Brumbies $1.65, Reds $2.22 (odds via PlayUp)
Tom Banks, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Mack Hansen, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Tom Cusack (c), Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Tom Ross, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Archer Holz, Nick Frost, Jahrome Brown, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jordan Petaia, Hunter Paisami, Filipo Daugunu, James O’Connor (c), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Dane Zander
Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Josh Flook