Western Force v Brumbies
nib Stadium, Perth, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 1 2012 - Brumbies 19 bt Force 17 at Canberra Stadium
Head-to-head: Played 8 Force 3 Brumbies 4 drawn 1
In Perth: Played 4 Force 1 Brumbies 2 drawn 1
Referee: Ian Smith (AUS)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Force $2.50 Brumbies $1.50
Greg Growden writes: There will be tears when Nathan Sharpe plays his last game in Perth for the Force and the emotion could derail the Brumbies, even though they are hot favourites. Picking the Force is dodgy because they don’t have a backline, but this is an odd fixture.
AAP writes: Going on ladder positions, the Brumbies should encounter few problems in locking up top spot in the Australian conference. The Brumbies enjoy a five-point lead over the Reds, and finish off the season with games against the 13th-placed Force, 11th-placed Waratahs and last-placed Blues. But looks can be deceiving, and the Brumbies will need to be on their guard against a Force outfit that will be riding a wave of emotion in retiring lock Nathan Sharpe’s final home game. The Brumbies only beat the Force 19-17 in round one, but should have the clear edge in backline class.
FORCE: Alfie Mafi, Nick Cummins, Will Tupou, Rory Sidey, Napolioni Nalaga, Ben Seymour, Josh Holmes, Matt Hodgson, David Pocock (c), Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe, Toby Lynn, Salesi Maafu, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Reserves: Elvis Taione, Tetera Faulkner, Salesi Manu, Phoenix Battye, Lachlan McCaffrey, Brett Sheehan, David Harvey.
BRUMBIES: Robbie Coleman, Henry Speight, Andrew Smith, Pat McCabe, Jesse Mogg, Zack Holmes, Nic White, Ben Mowen (c), Michael Hooper, Peter Kimlin, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Reserves: Anthony Hegarty, Ruaidhri Murphy, Leon Power, Ita Vaea, Ian Prior, Tevita Kuridrani, Cam Crawford