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Conference clincher harks back to derby 'days of old'


David Polkinghorne

Grudge match ... the Brumbies Fotu Auelua, pictured, faces Waratah and Australian international Wycliff Palu.

Grudge match ... the Brumbies Fotu Auelua, pictured, faces Waratah and Australian international Wycliff Palu. Photo: Getty Images

YOU expected fireworks when the Brumbies and Waratahs met in years gone by, and Stephen Moore expects a return to ''days of old'' when they meet in Canberra on Saturday.

It's a fixture where the intensity usually lifts several notches, and the Wallabies hooker believes this game will be no different.

The Brumbies narrowly lost 36-34 to three-time Super Rugby champions the Bulls in front of 26,578 passionate South Africans in the cauldron of Loftus Versfeld, but Moore said even that game would pale in comparison to playing NSW.

The Waratahs have dominated the Brumbies recently, winning seven of the past nine meetings including the past three. But Canberra Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Waratahs; they've won twice in eight meetings there.

Moore wants his side to give them a hostile reception to keep the ledger tilted in the Brumbies' favour. Especially given what's on the line. The Brumbies sit on top of the Australian conference, five points clear of the second-placed Waratahs.

A win will give them some breathing space with seven rounds remaining. It will put the Brumbies well on their way to their first finals appearance since 2004. A loss would make things extremely tight.

''The game at the end of last year, there wasn't too much in [it],'' Moore said. ''We were well out of the hunt for finals but this time both teams are fighting for top spot. It's going to be a really intense match, probably back to some of the games of old between the Brumbies and the Waratahs.

''I think the local derbies are a little different to [playing the Bulls]. You're away from home, you've got a totally different environment but to play in front of your home crowd is very special to us, and to play against our greatest rivals, the Waratahs, makes it even more special.''

Brumbies No. 8 Fotu Auelua was named man of the match in the 34-20 victory over the Lions at the weekend, and Moore is looking forward to Auelua's duel with Wycliff Palu. Auelua's physicality would be crucial in such an important game, he said.

Brumbies back-line coach Steve Larkham said he was happy with the impact the human wrecking ball had made after just a few games.

''Fotu's been playing extremely well for us. He's been starting the game very well for us and he's been coming on and adding an impact there off the bench, and the combination of the two has been working really well for us,'' Larkham said.

The match will also be the first time former Brumbies Rocky Elsom and Adam Ashley-Cooper return to Canberra Stadium since joining the Waratahs. Ashley-Cooper collected 78 caps for the Brumbies, and Moore believes it will be an emotional return for the talented fullback.

''I'm sure it will be a big moment for 'Coopy', he's played a lot of games at Canberra Stadium in the Brumbies colours,'' he said.

''It'll be a bit different for him coming back as an opposing player this time, but I don't think we'll treat him any different to the other players. He's a very dangerous player so he's got to come in for some attention.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
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SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
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NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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