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The Waratahs host the Brumbies on Saturday evening at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:15pm (AEST).
Dan McKellar’s Brumbies are back after a week off to block Rob Penney’s youngsters’ quest for their second win against the team from the capital since 2016.
Their last match in March this year was a disaster for the Waratahs, who lost by over 30 points against a better drilled team with superior set pieces, a powerful back row and a highly skilled flyhalf-fullback combination in Noah Lolesio and Tom Banks.
The two Queensland schoolboy stars are back in action today against another dynamic duo from New South Wales. This duel between Lolesio, Banks and Will Harrison and Jack Maddocks is an audition for the future playmakers for the Wallabies.
The back-rowers in both teams probably won’t hold up against the Blues, but they will give them a run for their money.
Jack Dempsey is a good player, but not yet outstanding. This game is his chance to complement hitman Lachlan Swinton and superman Michael Hooper by displaying a combination of power and speed his teammates possess in isolation. The Brumbies’ back-rowers are going to test the Waratahs. Many, including myself, would say they will outperform the Tahs. Nevertheless it’s a great match-up to watch.
Where the Brumbies will probably hammer the Waratahs is the front row, considering Wallaby Scott Sio is playing off the bench. The second-row competition will be a curiosity. New South Wales’ lineout genius and captain Rob Simmons is expected to use air-balls to set up set-piece point makers. The Brumbies will most likely use their corner lineout mauls as their fail-safe scoring machine if their fancier methods do not work.
The Brumbies’ centres also look much better on paper. Karmichael Hunt may be a factor though. His role in defeating the Western Force is undeniable. He may do the same thing today. But the Brumbies are not the Western Force.
Dan McKellar’s men have not been as deadly or consistent as last year’s line-up. But they have distinct advantages in the front row and at centre.
More tellingly, they have demonstrated a more reliable playing model. For the Waratahs to upset the odds, their veteran bench players – in particular Wallaby Tetera Faulkner and ex-Brumbies Robbie Abel – need to sustain their competitiveness for the full 80 minutes.
Kick off: 7:15pm (AEST)
Venue: ANZ Stadium
TV: Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
Betting: Waratahs $3.70, Brumbies $1.30
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Tom Horton, 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 4. Ned Hanigan, 5. Rob Simmons (C), 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Jack Dempsey, 9. Mitch Short, 10. Will Harrison, 11. Alex Newsome (VC), 12. Karmichael Hunt, 13. Joey Walton, 14. James Ramm, 15. Jack Maddocks
16. Robbie Abel, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Angus Bell, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Will Harris, 21. Michael McDonald, 22. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 23. Ben Donaldson
1. James Slipper , 2. Folau Fainga’a , 3. Allan Alaalatoa , 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Murray Douglas, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Tom Cusack, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11.Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks
16. Connal McInerney, 17. Scott Sio , 18. Tom Ross, 19. Locky McCaffrey, 20. Will Miller, 21. Issak Fines, 22. Bayley Kuenzle, 23. Mack Hansen