Brumbies want Super Rugby revenge against Queensland Reds
Good Friday was hardly that for the Brumbies this year. A painful 20-13 loss to an injury-ravaged Queensland Reds cut so deep that the Brumbies have been looking forward to the Canberra rematch on Saturday night, and making amends, ever since.
GOOD FRIDAY was hardly that for the Brumbies this year.
A painful 20-13 loss to an injury-ravaged Queensland Reds cut so deep that the Brumbies have been looking forward to the Canberra rematch on Saturday night, and making amends, ever since.
Despite a season of surprise highs, skipper Ben Mowen revealed their one big low point at Easter time, when outmuscled at Suncorp Stadium, has been held up as an irritating example of passive play that won’t be tolerated again.
“That game against the Reds is one we bring up a lot at team meetings so far as we don’t want that happening again,” Mowen told AAP.
“There was a lot that we weren’t happy about, and our attitude was off.
“We were outplayed by a desperate Reds side then and they’re definitely going to be better this week – they’ve played themselves into form and they’ve got Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane back.
“So (Saturday night) is a match that we’ve been looking forward to.”
That night Brumbies coach Jake White paid the price for leaving gun open-side flanker Michael Hooper on the bench as Reds tackle jackals Liam Gill and Beau Robinson dominated the breakdown battle.
A cited Hooper (dangerous tackle charge) is in doubt for this weekend’s pivotal clash – where the Brumbies can all but seal top spot in the Australian conference – but Mowen insists the problem in round seven was not due to his absence.
“Our breakdown work was average at best and it was an area the Reds had a real focus,” he said. “We were outplayed and were off on the night and not because Hoopy wasn’t there.”
The Reds have prepared to attack the Brumbies, with or without Hooper, at the tackle area again as Robinson (ankle niggle) was given a rest from the 34-20 win over the Lions to ensure he was 100 per cent for the crucial battle at Canberra Stadium.
Brumbies flanker Colby Faingaa, whose brothers Saia and Anthony play for Queensland, is coming back from his own ankle injury and looms as Hooper’s back-up.
The Reds have their own worry with utility back Ben Lucas struggling with a groin injury and rested from training on Monday afternoon.
But coach Ewen McKenzie remains confident Lucas can recover from the problem and line up for the defending champions’ last match before their mid-season break.
Renowned as a versatile attacker and a reliable tackler, the 24-year-old started at fullback in the win over the Lions but played a key defensive role in the front line instead of returning playmaker Quade Cooper. – AAP