Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Coming off two thrashings away from home, the Sunwolves host a home game against the Brumbies at the neutral site of WIN Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 2:45 pm (AEDT).
They may have kicked off the year with a win, but the Japanese team’s season has severely derailed in the past few weeks. The Chiefs ran up a score in their last home game before they were torched by the Reds and Hurricanes, conceding a combined 126 points on tour.
With just one loss from their four fixtures (and that defeat was by a single point), the Brumbies are looking in pretty good shape five weeks in. Right now they’re comfortable favourites to top the Australian conference, leading by five match points with victories against two of their rivals, the Reds and Rebels, despite having played one fewer game than both.
After this game, they return home for a Sunday afternoon match-up against the Waratahs, and should they win both, they’d have a pretty healthy buffer at the top given their competitors’ schedules.
In team news, the Brumbies welcome back some talent, with Tom Wright, Darcy Swain, and Tom Cusack all coming back in following the bye. Reesjan Pasitoa also returns.
However, the try-scoring machine Folau Fainga won’t return from injury yet. Ryan Lonergan will get his first start at nine, with Joe Powell dropping to the bench.
For the Sunwolves, Naoya Okubo has made a raft of changes. An all-new front row with Nic Mayhew, Efitusi Maafu, and Conraad van Vuuren, two new flankers, in Justin Downey and Shunsuke Nonomaki and a completely different back three.
Yoshizumi Takeda takes over from Alex Horan at 15, JJ Engelbrecht and Tautalatasi Tasi are the new wingers.
Stranger things have happened, but under normal programming you’d expect the Brumbies to win quite easily in Wollongong. The Sunwolves have never beaten the Canberrans, and it’s unlikely that their first win would come in what is effectively another away game.
Brumbies by 20.
Time: 2:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: WIN Stadium
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Odds: Brumbies $1.02, Sunwolves $17
TV: Fox Sports
Last five meetings: Brumbies 42-19, Brumbies 33-0, Brumbies 41-31, Brumbies 32-25, Brumbies 66-5.
Scott Sio, Connal McInerney, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Murray Douglas, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Will Miller, Pete Samu, Ryan Lonergan, Noah Lolesio, Toni Pulu, Irae Simone, Tevita Kuridrani, Solomone Kata, Tom Banks.
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Darcy Swain, Tom Cusack, Joe Powell, Reesjan Pasitoa, Tom Wright.
Nic Mayhew, Efitusi Maafu, Conraad Van Vuuren, Kotaro Yatabe, Michael Stolberg, Justin Downey, Shinsuke Nunomaki, Rudy Paige, Garth April, Tautalasi Tasi, Ben Te’o, Siosaia Fifita, JJ Engelbrecht, Yoshizumi Takeda.
Reserves: Jaba Bregvadze, Jarred Adams, Hencus van Wyk, Ben Hyne, Tevita Tupou, Naoto Saito, Jumpei Ogura, Keisuke Moriya.