Rugby Union

Brumbies versus Force Talking Points

The Flying Fijian and the Honey Badger do battle

How good is it to see Nic "The Honey Badger" back in Super Rugby? He iced his return with a superb first-half try, dragging three Brumbies with him to score in the corner. It was his first touch since coming home from his Japan sabbatical. It was a timely reminder to Wallabies selectors, who also would have been watching Brumbies wingers Joe Tomane and Henry Speight closely. Speight's hyped battle with Cummins didn't really reach any great heights, mostly because the Brumbies chose to direct most of their attacking raids down Tomane's side. A powerful Speight run did set up a first-half try to Ben Alexander after he was dragged down just short of the try line. Waratah Adam Ashley-Cooper has also been in sparkling touch to begin the season. The Wallabies have an embarrassment of riches to choose from on the flanks this year. 

Pocock's return imminent

Former Wallabies skipper David Pocock is expected to return from ankle syndesmosis next week, which could be timely for the Brumbies after Scott Fardy's night ended early. Right flanker Fardy was limping noticeably on his right leg when substituted early in the second half. If Fardy misses some football, Pocock could slot into the No.7 jersey, with the the in-form Jarred Butler shifting to No.6 for the match against his former side Queensland Reds in Brisbane next Saturday. However, the Brumbies may opt to start Pocock from the bench given he's only played six games in three years. The cautious approach has worked well with captain Stephen Moore as he eases back in after knee surgery. 

Canberra Stadium fortress

It's one of the biggest cliches in sport, "let's make our home ground a fortress". But the Brumbies are talking the talk, notching up their 10th straight home win last night. It was a crucial five points for the Brumbies, who face road blockbusters against Queensland and NSW in the next fortnight. The Brumbies snapped a six-game road losing streak in Melbourne last week, so they'll be hoping they can take their winning habit at Canberra Stadium interstate. 

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Fullback woes

We're not sure if the Brumbies fullbacks walked under a ladder or passed a black cat walking into Canberra Stadium, but they couldn't take a trick. First Jesse Mogg was a late omission off the bench with a middle ear infection. Then Robbie Coleman left the field in the second half after being crunched in a strong tackle. James Dargaville filled in for the back end of the match and if Mogg or Coleman don't come up next week, he could be thrown into the hot seat. 

Danger zone defence 

Running rugby is back under Stephen Larkham's coaching at the ACT. The Brumbies secured the four-try bonus point for the fifth straight home game, something they haven't accomplished in a decade. But it was their tenacious online defence that secured it. Leading 27-15 with a few minutes left, they repelled 18 straight Force phases on their line to seal the win. They forced a multitude of turnovers in their own 20 also, continuing on from their effort last week in Melbourne. Jake White's kicking template frustrated many fans, but those days look long gone. 

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