Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani and Reds wing Chris Kuridrani will have important roles to play in Friday's Australian derby. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has named an all-Wallabies midfield with Matt Toomua returning to the starting lineup following a knee injury, to partner Tevita Kuridrani. The move could boost the Brumbies attack. Toomua, who was unavailable for Australia’s first two Tests against England, played in the third match in Sydney and lifted the backline in general and Kuridrani in particular.
The Reds boast a considerably less experienced side than the Brumbies, with fullback Jack Tuttle set to make his run-on debut. But with Chris Kuridrani in their ranks and up against James Dargeville, the Reds have a clear advantage in the wider channels. Chris has not been a first-choice selection for the Reds in recent seasons and will be eager to prove that he belongs on the same stage as his more accomplished cousin Tevita and brother Nemani Nadolo.
The Brumbies top the Australian conference because they won one more game than the Waratahs. They have won all four of their Australian derbies this year, but failed to pick up a bonus point. With the Blues looming large in the next round, the Canberra-based side need a bonus-point win to ensure they stay ahead of the Tahs, who should get five log points against the Sunwolves.
In contrast, the Reds have lost all of their Australian derbies this year and have just three wins, against the Highlanders, Cheetahs and Sunwolves.
The Brumbies have dominated this fixture, and should canter to another victory on Saturday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Brumbies 20, Reds 5, Draw 1
In Canberra: Brumbies 11, Reds 3
STATS AND FACTS
– The Brumbies have won their last three games against the Reds and have conceded only three points in their last two games combined against the Queensland side (scoring 76 themselves).
– The Brumbies have won their last three games in Super Rugby, the last time they won four on the trot was in round six in 2014.
– A win against the Sunwolves in round 13 leaves the Reds on the cusp of consecutive wins for the first time since round 17 in 2014.
– The Brumbies have crossed for four tries after stealing a lineout this season, the most of any team and three more than the Reds.
– Hendrik Tui has stolen five lineouts, more than any other Australia-based player and the equal fifth most of any player in the competition.
|Team||Top point-scorer||Top try-scorer||Most metres gained||Most tackles|
|Brumbies||Christian Leali'ifano (124)||Joe Tomane (6)||Aidan Toua (619)||David Pocock (94)|
|Reds||Jake McIntyre (92)||Samu Kerevi (4)||Samu Kerevi (766)||Jake McIntyre (83)|
Brumbies – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Leali'ifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Ben Hyne, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Lausii Taliauli.
Reds – 15 Jack Tuttle, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia'aua, 23 Campbell Magnay.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
Photo: Andrew Aylett/Getty Images