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, 18 August 2017
Western Province v Golden Lions 17h00 Newlands
Sat, 19 August 2017
Australia v New Zealand 10h00 ANZ Stadium
Blue Bulls v Free State Cheetahs 12h05 Loftus Versfeld
South Africa v Argentina 15h05 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Sun, 20 August 2017
Griquas v Pumas 12h30 Kimberley
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28