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Giants in war of aggression

Date

Chris Dutton

Brumbies players, Fotu Auelua and Ita Vaea .

Brumbies players, Fotu Auelua and Ita Vaea . Photo: Melissa Adams

Fotu Auelua and Ita Vaea have promised to unleash a 229-kilogram Islander tag team of aggression when they get their chance to take on Australia's premier No.8 on Saturday night.

The rapidly developing combination will face its biggest test this season when they go up against Wycliff Palu and the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.

Palu has been one of the Waratahs' best this year and - when not injured - has been the Wallabies' first-choice No.8 in recent years.

Few can match Palu's aggression and power ball running.

But Auelua has fast established himself as one of the most feared players in the competition with his brutal defence and devastating runs.

When the 121kg Samoan gets tired, the Brumbies inject 108kg Tongan powerhouse Vaea to finish the opposition off and the scariest thing is Auelua says they're yet to reach their best as wrecking-ball partners.

Palu is 118kg and will be forced to deal with a constant onslaught from his two Islander opponents.

The Wallabies veteran was one of Auelua's ''idols'' when the Brumbies recruit was in the Waratahs Academy in 2006.

Auelua, 28, has tried to mould his game around Palu's and he has had an immediate impact in his three Super Rugby games.

He made some bone-crunching tackles against the Johannesburg Lions and sent defenders flying backwards when he ran the ball.

''Whether it's Ita starting or me on the bench, it doesn't bother me and I think we're going well,'' Auelua said.

''I think it's something we can make even better and the impact Ita brings into the game is enormous.

''We're similar in some areas, Ita reads the game well and is good on the ball, that's something I have to improve on.

''Cliffy is still No.1 in Australia in my eyes so it's going to be an awesome experience going up against him.''

Brumbies coach Jake White will name his team tomorrow for the grudge match against their arch-rivals.

It is likely White will name a relatively unchanged line-up with skipper Ben Mowen coming back from injury and Sam Carter a chance to return to the starting XV.

Vaea - who is poised to sign a new deal to remain in Canberra - is in his second Super Rugby campaign.

He burst on to the scene last year as a rookie and his aggressive style drew comparisons with Wallabies great Toutai Kefu. But with Ben Mowen and Auelua also capable of filling the No.8 duties, Vaea has taken on a different role this year.

When he came off the bench against the Pretoria Bulls two weeks ago, he caused havoc and had a major hand in the Brumbies' three second-half tries.

The 23-year-old is keen to take on a bigger workload but says he's happy biding his time as an impact player.

''I think my form has been consistent coming off the bench and Fotu is a good player too,'' Vaea said.

''We always talk to each other to give feedback so we're both working hard … I'm enjoying the second half and trying to give the boys some momentum.

''I try to wake them up when they're tired so I try to be a spark so we can go for the full 80 minutes.

''Absolutely I feel more comfortable, last year was a good experience and this year I know what my job is and what I have to do around the field.''

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
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ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
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ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
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