It’s crunch time! Five points to the good in the Australian conference, the Plus500 Brumbies head to Sydney to take on the Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium.
There’s no point in sugar coating it, this is the Brumbies biggest game of the season so far, victory over the ‘Tahs would be another massive step towards a home quarter (we’re not going to even say the word) for Australia’s most successful side.
Not that the ACT men need any extra motivation against the Waratahs. Ask any Brumbies fan what game matters most. It’s Brumbies, ‘Tahs every time so yes this matchup is crucial in terms of this season, but no matter the year, no matter the table situation, this game matters more than the rest.
No Henry Speight this week with the Fijian flyer just not right after picking up a slight calf niggle, so Andy Muirhead comes into the side. He does like playing in Sydney, see below! The other change sees Rob Valetini start at blindside with Tom Cusack taking up his natural position at seven.
Jahrome Brown will start from the bench but will have a huge role to play off the pine.
On the other side, the ‘Tahs are at full strength, Ned Hanigan the only star missing.
Spotlight: Irae Simone
You can bet Irae Simone will be right up for this one! Since joining the Brumbies from the ‘Tahs, Simone has gone from strength to strength and has been playing his best rugby the season of late. Simone is a unique talent as an inside centre. Few have the physical tools and skillset Simone has, and in the last couple of games he’s started to put it all together. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Simone in his time in Canberra, but at just 23, he is showing why Dan McKellar wanted him at the club.
Head To Head - Bernard Foley v Christian Lealiifano
It’s being billed as another Wallabies audition, but this matchup is more than that. Both Foley and Christian have such key roles in this game, greater than normal even.
For the Brumbies, how Lealiifano controls the game will go a long way to deciding the piece.
The Brumbies can expect to edge the rough stuff up front, so how Christian uses that front foot ball and dictates pace, will be crucial for our chances in Parramatta.