Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman will be hoping for a repeat performance against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
Coleman, who was the Brumbies' joint top try-scorer in 2014 with eight, scored one of his side's six tries in their 47-3 thrashing of the Reds in round one.
A former flyhalf and winger, the 24-year-old seems to have settled at fullback and forms one of the competition's most potent attacking back-three combinations with Henry Speight and Joe Tomane.
Coleman has made the most running metres by a Brumbies player this season (197) and beaten six defenders.
Since that comprehensive opening win against the Reds, the Brumbies have lost narrowly to the Chiefs in Hamilton and beaten the Rebels (away) and Force (home) to top the Australian conference.
The Reds bounced back with a win against the Force in Brisbane, only to go down to the Highlanders (away) and Waratahs (home). They were dire in that last game against the defending champions, who would have scored 50-plus points, and not just 23, if they had taken the try-scoring opportunities that came their way.
In fact, so poor were the Reds that it wouldn't be a surprise if the Brumbies racked up a similar score on Saturday to the one they achieved in Canberra on 13 February.
The Reds will be without key backs James O'Connor (recurring leg injury) and Lachlan Turner (concussion) but will have the services of second rower James Horwill, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s clash against the Waratahs.
The Brumbies have stuck with the starting lineup that beat the Force.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Reds 4, Brumbies 19, Drawn 1
In Brisbane: Reds 2, Brumbies 8, Drawn 1
STATS AND FACTS
– The Reds have lost five of their last six games at home to fellow Australian opposition with their last two defeats in that run seeing the Reds fail to score more than five points in either game.
– Of the 11 meetings between the two sides in Brisbane, nine have been settled by fewer than 10 points.
– The Brumbies have lost just one of their last nine matches in Brisbane (won seven, drawn one).
– The Reds are the only team so far this season to average fewer than 10 points per game, due in part to their 50% goal-kicking success rate which is the joint-worst in the competition.
– The Reds have scored three of their four tries this season off first-phase ball; no team in Super Rugby has scored as high a percentage of their tries from the first phase of possession.
– Adam Thomson has stolen a competition joint-high three lineouts for the Reds this season.
|Team||Top point-scorer||Top try-scorer||Most metres gained||Most tackles|
|Reds||Lachlan Turner (13)||Marco Kotze, Lachlan Turner, Jake Schatz (1)||Lachlan Turner (194)||Jarrad Butler (50)|
|Brumbies||Christian Leali'ifano (43)||Tevita Kuridrani (2)||Robbie Coleman (197)||Liam Gill (34)|
Reds – 15 Ben Tapuai, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Campbell Magnay, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Tom Banks.
Brumbies – 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 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 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Blake Enever, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lausii Taliauli, 23 James Dargaville.
Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images