Larkham keeps the faith as Sharks arrive

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 07:39

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham kept the faith and named an unchanged line-up for Round Two of Super Rugby.

The Australian franchise will host the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday.

Larkham retained the matchday 23 that was narrowly beaten by the Crusaders in Christchurch last week, meaning that four from the starting XV will make their home debut.

Scrumhalf Joe Powell will continue in the playmaking role at No.9, the local youngster having enjoyed a superb match against the Crusaders with his energetic sniping around the base and his quick-fire passes allowing the Brumbies backline to flourish.

Alongside Powell, Wharenui Hawera will make his Canberra bow with the New Zealand-born flyhalf hoping to continue where he left off in Round One - his 100 percent kicking success from the tee almost leading the Brumbies to what would have been an upset victory.

In the pack the form of Chris Alcock, another who will make his maiden bow in front of the home supporters, could be key to the Brumbies hopes of a win.

The former Force and Waratahs man secured four turnovers in Round One, the most of any player in any game.

The battle of the front rows should be an absorbing contest as well - with Wallaby star Allan Alaalatoa coming up against Springbok Tendai Mtawarira, with the scrum battle set to be extremely important in setting any foundations for dominant possession.

Discipline could be key with Sharks Patrick Lambie a deadly presence with the boot.

As such the Brumbies defence, which was led by an outstanding Scott Fardy against the Crusaders, will need to be at their most vigilant and decisive best. Fardy continues in the back row alongside Alcock and Jordan Smiler.

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leulua’Iali’I-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Isaac Thompson.

Date: Saturday, March 4
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (10.45 SA time; 08.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jordan Way (Australia), Edward Martin (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19