Rugby Union


Wallabies captains Ben Mowen and James Horwill go into lineout battle for supremacy

ACT skipper Ben Mowen is bracing for the toughest set-piece contest of the Brumbies' season, as the Queensland Reds attempt to tear the lineout apart at Suncorp Stadium.

In a battle between two Wallabies captains, Mowen will go head to head with Reds leader James Horwill as the Brumbies chase their first victory in Brisbane since 2011.

The contest for Test spots will heat up in the derby as both teams are desperate for a crucial win before respective byes.

Young gun Tom Staniforth has been injected to the Brumbies starting team, thrusting the 19-year-old into a lineout battle against Horwill and Test partner Rob Simmons.

The Brumbies have the best lineout success rate - 94 per cent - in the competition. But the Reds hold a height advantage as Horwill and Simmons are 200 centimetres and the Brumbies are down on tall timber.

Mowen's 38 lineout wins this season is the most of any player in Super Rugby and the Reds will target the Brumbies and Wallabies set-piece general.


"I don't know if a couple of centimetres make a difference," Mowen said. "The Reds have two tall locks and very short back-rowers.

"We've probably got a tall back row and shorter locks. But if you call the space correctly and organise the space well, you'll inevitably win your ball.

"I think [Horwill and Simmons] will have a good understanding of me and I'll have a good understanding of them. That's the great thing about these interstate rivalries, you know a lot about each guy playing.

"That's why they're such thrilling battles, you've got to impose yourself on the game and that's one of the big challenges waiting for us."

The Brumbies have been bolstered by a double Wallaby addition in the front row after Stephen Moore and Scott Sio returned from injury.

Staniforth replaces Sam Carter - who is expected to be injured for two games - and back-up halfback Michael Dowsett has been added to the bench.

Mowen said the Brumbies were "caught napping" when the Reds beat them in the opening round of the season.

The Brumbies lost just one game to the Reds in the first 16 years of Super Rugby, but have won just one of the past five matches between the teams.

Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said: "It's a real challenge for us. It's quite a mountain to climb, but we've prepared well and I hope that shows in our performance.

"The key is to play our game and play it well. We understand you have to shut [Quade] Cooper and [Will] Genia down, that they'll have a good defensive lineout, their scrum has come on and they've got pace and skill on the edge.

"But if we do our game well, we'll be in the hunt."