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Pressure on Brumbies after build-up

Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie.

Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie. Photo: Getty Images

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie says the ACT Brumbies have set themselves up for a fall after spending the past seven months working towards one goal - winning their season-opening clash with the Reds at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.

The Reds snatched the Australian conference title and a play-off berth from the Brumbies last season and McKenzie said the home side's focus on revenge could make it vulnerable.

''Everything you've read, every second day there's a story about the preparation and how good it's been and they've got their best team out there and all these things we've heard and how long they've been at it - they've set themselves up for, 'it's all or nothing','' McKenzie said. ''We quite like that scenario.''

McKenzie and Brumbies coach Jake White have been sparring in the media this week, with White accusing the Queensland mentor of ''mind games'' by not naming his starting line-up until the 11th hour.

McKenzie did the same thing last year as the play-off race with the Brumbies reached boiling point, the Reds winning that clash 13-12.

McKenzie thought the Reds had done enough to earn favouritism but ACTTAB has the Brumbies as $1.57 favourites.

''We are disappointed [not to be favourites], we've never sought to be the underdog and the bookmakers have made us such,'' McKenzie said.

''We think we've got a pretty good recent record against the Brumbies, and even down here we've got a good record in recent times.''

McKenzie said Quade Cooper had returned from his very brief boxing career fighting fit.

With Brumbies Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano returning for their first games back from injury it should shape as an exciting battle between three playmakers vying for the Wallabies No.10 jersey.

Both Toomua (knee) and Lealiifano (ankle) suffered season-ending injuries last year.

While McKenzie admitted it was a great opportunity for the Brumbies pair to impress Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, it also meant they were under pressure.

''They're both creative players, good players, but it's up to them to deliver, too,'' he said.

''We're confident with where Quade is, they've got to deliver too, so it will be interesting to see who can.''

Last Super Rugby season was a two-horse race between the Brumbies and Reds for top spot in the Aussie conference, but McKenzie was expecting the NSW Waratahs to be pushing for that mantle this year as well.

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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
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
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
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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