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The Brumbies host the Force on Friday evening at GIO Stadium, Canberra. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm (AEDT).
Both the Brumbies and the Force narrowly lost to the Queensland Reds in their respective last match. Both teams will be looking for redemption – especially the Brumbies, who seemed to have the measure of their opponent until their backup scrummagers were schooled. The Force performed better than most expected and will improve again today.
All of the Force matches this year were close with the exception of their first-round clash against the Brumbies, which was heavily contested until the last stanza. They scored tries and kicked many goals in various matches. But they were one-dimensional last week. They need to vary their attack if they want to win today.
The Brumbies are a try-scoring machine. While they are not the table-toppers, they lead the competition in points scored, tries scored and points difference. Their point-scoring machine continued despite the depletion of their front row in their losing match, notching 38 points. Today they are bolstered by the return of Queensland Reds reject James Slipper.
Slipper is a crucial component of the Brumbies past success and will be important in today’s game. His back five are the best in this year’s competition due to their strength, agility and adaptability. The men to look out for are replacement front-rowers Lachlan Lonergan, Fred Kaihea and Sefo Kautai. They hope to do a better job than the last backup front row that precipitated their demise.
The Force’s team is largely the same as their last with the exception of the injury to outside backs Rob Kearney and Richard Kahui. They are replaced by error-prone players. Sounds dangerous.
Ironically the other main challenge of the Force is getting the pill to the outside men. Their attack is premised on finding weaknesses in their opponents’ inside channels. Henry Taefu will be critical. Their back five are powerful but lack comparative agility and linking.
The Brumbies are rested. They are at home. They are coming off a shock loss. While the Force will play well again and most probably improve again, a win against the Canberrans would be a miracle.
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Brumbies $1.16, Force $5.10 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Harrison Lloyd, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. James Slipper, 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Caderyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Nic White, 11. Mackenzie Hansen, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks
Bench: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Fred Kaihea, 18. Sosefo Kautai, 19. James Tucker, 20. Rory Scott, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Isaak Fines
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Greg Holmes, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Sitaleki Timani, 6. Fergus Lee-Warner, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Tomas Cubelli, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Marcel Brache, 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jack McGregor
Bench: 16. Jack Winchester, 17. Angus Wagner, 18. Santiago Medrano, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Tim Anstee, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Jono Lance, 23. Jordan Olowofeal