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
Sat, 26 May 2018
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
Fri, 01 June 2018
Highlanders v Hurricanes 07h35 Dunedin
Sat, 02 June 2018
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Eden Park
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 12 6 1 5 31
Rebels 12 6 0 6 30
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 12 2 0 10 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 11 0 2 50
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 8 0 4 37
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 13 8 0 5 34
Sharks 13 5 1 7 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23