Preview: Brumbies vs Reds

Last year's leading Australian Vodacom Super Rugby teams will meet in Canberra on Saturday.

Two points separated them in 2013 but it was Jake White's side that ended up reaching the final, where they lost to the Chiefs.

White then announced he was leaving Australia, which raises the question whether the Canberra side can better 2013. Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher will insist they can as they take the reins.

The duo's first selection sees Andrew Smith preferred to Tevita Kuridrani alongside Pat McCabe (in for the injured Christian Leali'ifano) in midfield while Scott Fardy is shifted back into the second row, with Ben Mowen moving to blindside and Jarrad Butler given his debut start in the No 8 jersey. Former Reds back row Butler will hope to take his chance on Saturday after Fotu Auelua was ruled out for the opening 10 rounds with an injury.

The Reds' aspirations will be resting on the Will Genia-Quade Cooper axis, which has looked remarkably slick during pre-season. Further forward there is a player who is progressing nicely under the radar in their back row. That man is Ed Quirk, who is set for a big year alongside Liam Gill and Jake Schatz. And what better opportunity for both the 22-year-old Australia U20 product and the Reds to throw down a marker than in this derby?

Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Ben Mowen (c), 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaridh Murphy, 19 Leon Power, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffman, 22 Lionel Cronjé, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.

Reds – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Ed Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Bet on Brumbies vs Reds match

Lions vs Stormers preview

Crusaders vs Chiefs preview

Predictions for all Round 2 matches

VIDEO: Mark Keohane on this weekend's two SA derbies

Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt