It doesn’t get any tougher
Brumbies coach Jake White is expecting a fierce and challenging encounter when his young side clashes with the inform Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
White’s men will travel to Brisbane full of confidence, following their convincing 30-19 victory over the Highlanders on Friday, but will confront a Reds outfit at the peak of its form.
The boys from Ballymore pulled off the upset of the round on Saturday with a commanding 31-23 bonus-point victory over defending champions the Chiefs in Hamilton, leaving them just two points behind the Brumbies.
The win means the Reds have won six out of their last seven games, making them the in-form side of the competition and a dangerous prospect for White and his coaching staff as they look to remain at the top of the Super Rugby table.
“It doesn’t get any tougher than going to Suncorp Stadium and having to beat the Reds on their home ground,” White said.
“They are probably at the strongest they can be, and have some great momentum after a five point win in Hamilton.
“We are playing at a stadium where in the last 28 games they have won 26, so it just tells you how good they are at playing at Suncorp.
“We want to win the championship and that means we have to beat everybody and that includes playing the Reds up in Brisbane in front of 40,000 people.”
The match on Saturday is the second time the Brumbies have faced the Reds this season, after the ACT side cruised to a convincing 24-6 victory in Round One at Canberra Stadium.
But White believes the Reds will be a far more formidable opponent on Saturday after welcoming back a string of Wallabies stars since Round One including James Horwill and Will Genia.
“They have players in every position that are Wallabies,” White said.
“They have Quade Cooper, Horwill and Genia back and have players in the Wallaby set-up that haven’t even played yet this year, so they can only get stronger as the tournament goes on.
“The Reds players who won the championship in 2010 know what is going to be expected from them to win.”
Brumbies second row Peter Kimlin is also looking forward to the challenge against the Reds after having a strong match against the Highlanders.
Kimlin has been dubbed the Brumbies’ ‘Mr Versatile’ in recent weeks because of his ability to switch from flank to second row when required.
But Kimlin does believe the side will need all the versatility it can get on Saturday if they wish to continue their recent good form over the Queenslanders.
“Hopefully we can replicate our Round One win, but they have changed the way they play since that first game so that’s going to create some challenges in our preparation,” Kimlin said.
“They are a great side and we are expecting not only a challenge in the forward pack but one also in the backline.
“Anytime you play the Australian teams it’s great to get one over them, and if we win then that obviously puts us further ahead in the Australian Conference.
“It would be up there with the biggest game that I have played in a while, so it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Andrew Smith is the only injury concern for the Brumbies as they head into the halfway mark of the competition.