Date: June 12 2012
The ACT Brumbies have a cold and brutal warning for Wales if its preparing for an easy contest tonight: ''We're playing to win''.
And while midweek matches are supposed to be a good chance for international touring teams to stretch their legs in a not-too-taxing way, two ACT rugby greats have delivered a reminder that won't be the case at Canberra Stadium.
After losing to the Wallabies in Brisbane four days ago, Wales will be desperate to restore some pride against the Brumbies.
But while the capital has been a relatively frequent stop for Wales in the past 35 years, it hasn't been a happy hunting ground.
In Wales's three visits to Canberra, the ACT has won twice.
The home team's victory in 1978 was one of the greatest upsets in the history of provincial sides taking on international visitors.
Canberra club great Peter O'Neill still remembers barging over for the only try of the game in the ACT's 21-20 triumph at Manuka Oval.
Playing against arguably the strongest team in the world at the time, the ACT shocked Wales when fullback Dominic O'Connell slotted a goal after full-time.
O'Neill, a Daramalan and Gungahlin legend, was just 19 and taking on some of the best players in international rugby.
''When we won, the crowd came out on to the field and ran to us, they wanted our autographs and not the Welsh,'' O'Neill, now 54, said.
''We couldn't believe it. The Welsh had some big names and we couldn't figure out why they wanted us. The Welsh players didn't want a bar of us, they had the shits, especially with someone like the ACT beating them … it's a great memory.''
The Welsh won on their return visit in 1991.
Some of the Brumbies' greatest players fired in 1996 when the teams met for a third time.
Joe Roff ran in four tries while Owen Finegan, Pat Howard, Stephen Larkham, Mitch Hardy, Brett Robinson and George Gregan all scored in a 69-30 win.
''It was a fantastic game and we played some really good footy against them,'' former Wallabies and Brumbies player Finegan said.
''It was our first year of Brumbies rugby and I hadn't played international rugby before that.
''It gave you the confidence you could play at that next level and these young players [playing for the Brumbies against Wales tonight] will probably feel the same.''
Jake White's young side will have a tough task tonight, with half of the squad boasting 10 Super Rugby games or fewer for experience.
There will also be plenty of Welsh red in the crowd, with at least one tour group arriving in Canberra yesterday prepared to brave the cold.
The Brumbies are hoping for a strong crowd and will donate a percentage of the ticket sales to the Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter.
ACT Brumbies v Wales at Canberra Stadium, tonight, 7.30pm. Tickets available from Ticketek or the gate.
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