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The Brumbies host the Reds on Friday night at GIO Stadium, Canberra. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:15pm (AEDT).
Many things have changed since last year’s Super Rugby season. The Reds will hope their fortunes will change for the better.
The last time they faced the Brumbies was the last round of the regular season, where the Reds lost 40-27. So this round could be a Reds redemption. However, the bookies gives the Queenslanders little chance.
There may a glimmer of hope, though. One of the changes was the retirement of Scott Higginbotham. While he is the highest-scoring forward in Super Rugby ever, in his last game he was handed a yellow card and conceded penalty try.
Another yellow card was handed to Taniela Tupou. A few minutes later the Reds conceded another try.
Some may recall that Tupou was carded for tackling Christian Lealiifano too hard, which preceded a disqualified Reds try. In that game, the yellow cards resulted in 19 points lost for the Reds.
Now Scott Higginbotham has moved on. This should hopefully reduce the Reds’ card count. But the Reds lost a few other valuable players such as Samu Kerevi, Sefa Naivalu, and one of my favourites, Duncan Paia’aua.
Many high-profile players left the Brumbies, including David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter and Henry Speight, who is now a Queenslander.
The one thing that did not change were the head coaches. On that basis, I will reluctantly have to agree with the bookies – Brumbies to win.
When: 7:15pm (AEDT)
Where: GIO Stadium, Canberra
TV: Fox Sports, Kayo
Odds: Brumbies $1.40, Reds $3.00
15. Thomas Banks, 14. Solomone Kata, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Irae Simone, 11. Tom Wright, 10. Noah Lolesio, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Pete Samu, 7. Thomas Cusack, 6. Rob Valetini, 5. Murray Douglas, 4. Darcy Swain, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 1. Scott Sio. Substitutes: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. Harrison Lloyd, 18. James Slipper, 19. Cadeyrn Neville, 20. Will Miller, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Bayley Kuenzle, 23. Andy Muirhead.
15. Bryce Hegarty, 14. Jock Campbell, 13. Jordan Petaia, 12. James O’Connor, 11. Henry Speight, 10. Isaac Lucas, 9. Tate McDermott, 8. Harry Wilson, 7. Liam Wright, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4. Angus Blyth, 3. Taniela Tupou, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1. Jean-Pierre Smith. Substitutes: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Dane Zander, 18. Feao Fotuaika, 19. Izack Rodda, 20. Seru Uru, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Hamish Stewart, 23. Hunter Paisami.