Pace over power for Brumbies
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:01
The Brumbies are determined to avoid getting into a 'brutal arm-wrestle' with the two-time defending champion Chiefs.
The two sides meet in Canberra on Saturday in the first match of the 2014 Super Rugby play-offs, a preliminary qualifier.
Having found some late-season form - with victories over the Blues (11-8 this past weekend) and Hurricanes (24-16 the week before) - the Chiefs muscled their way from ninth to fifth on the table in the past fortnight.
Monstrous Chiefs props Ben Tameifuna (137kg) and Jamie Mackintosh (130kg) have been central to that late charge, as the Hamilton-based franchise have become more reliant on brute force - in contrast to the their previous two campaigns, when try-scoring came almost instinctively.
The Brumbies, who have relied heavily on their kicking game and sound defence to wear teams down the last couple of years, are looking to play an up-tempo game on Saturday in order to wear down the Chiefs' big forwards.
Brumbies flank Scott Fardy told the Australian Associated Press that they would also look to limit the devastating ball-carrying impact of a player like Tameifuna.
"He's 135kg-140kg, so we've just got to keep our tempo up on the game, make him work around the field and minimise the ability for him to get his hands on the ball," Fardy said.
The Brumbies also hope that will help them in the set pieces, especially scrums, where the Chiefs' massive weight advantage could be a factor - given that statistics show they win only about 76 percent of the scrums on their own feed.
Wallaby prop Ben Alexander played down suggestions a neck concern that ruled him out of the international series against France would receive the ultimate test from the Chiefs' front row - whose two props weigh in at almost 270kg.
"There's not a forward pack in this comp that doesn't test you out as a front row forward with your neck," the 62-Test Wallaby said.
"But it's 100 percent all good."
While Alexander (120kg) and fellow Brumbies prop Scott Sio (116kg) give away more than 30kg to their opponents, the 29-year-old stalwart said there was more to scrummaging than size.
"Yeah, they're very big guys - you've just got to find ways around that using technique, work ethic and what-not," he said.
"Sides have scrummed well against them, and then they've touched up other sides as well."
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