Smith set to tackle Cheetahs

Tue, 16 Jul 2013 10:55
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Veteran Wallabies flank George smith is set to start for the Brumbies in their Super Rugby play-off against the Cheetahs in Canberra on Sunday.

Veteran Wallabies flank George smith is set to start for the Brumbies in their Super Rugby play-off against the Cheetahs in Canberra on Sunday.

The experienced loose forward, who made his Wallabies comeback in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions, is set to play a major role against the Cheetahs as Brumbies coach Jake White is determined to name his strongest possible team.

Although Smith started off the bench in the Brumbies' surprise loss to the Force last week, the double Super Rugby champion should get the opportunity to impose himself on the opposition from the first whistle this weekend.

Having been a part of the Brumbies sides that won the title in 2001 and 2004, Smith has the kind of experience that White believes will be crucial at the business end of the season.

"For me now it's about picking a team that can win the competition. George has all that experience, has played in play-offs and won the competition before.

"Any bit of advantage we can get going into this knock-out stage of the competition is going to be vital," White told AAP.

The former Springbok coach is also expecting to have scrumhalf Nic White back in the starting line-up as he is close to full fitness.

"All things being equal he should be ready to go and if he's 90 per cent, look this is a play off game and we've got to pick the best team," White said.

Tighthead prop Ben Alexander said that although there was some rustiness evident in their loss to the force last week, the Brumbies are expecting to hit top gear in front of their home fans on Sunday.

"While we've had our combinations embedded throughout the whole year it was still our first hit-out as a group since the the boys played the Lions, so there was a few cobwebs.

"There's definitely some thinking that if we came in the top two we would've had another week off so I think it's good that we're getting straight onto the field and playing again," he said.

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 5 4 0 1 18
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Kings 5 1 0 4 5