30 April 2012, Canberra Times photo by RICHARD BRIGGS, Brumbies vice -captain Stephen Moore at Brumbies HQ in Griffith. Photo: Richard Briggs RCB
ACT Brumbies hooker Steve Moore expects a return to the ''days of old'' when the club hosts fierce rival the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The Brumbies lost 36-34 to three-time Super Rugby champions the Pretoria Bulls in front of 26,578 passionate South Africans in the cauldron of Loftus Versfeld Stadium last month. But Moore said that game would pale in comparison to playing the Waratahs.
NSW has recently dominated the Brumbies, winning seven of their past nine meetings, including the last three.
But Canberra has traditionally been an unhappy hunting ground for the Waratahs, who've won only twice in eight attempts at the Bruce stadium. Moore wants ACT fans to give the visitors a hostile reception to keep the ledger tilted firmly in the Brumbies' favour.
''The game at the end of last year [against the Waratahs] there wasn't too much in the game, we were well out of the hunt for finals [and lost 41-7] but this time both teams are fighting for that top spot,'' Moore said. ''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.''
Fotu Auelua was named man-of-the-match in the Brumbies' 34-20 victory over Johannesburg Lions on the weekend and back-line coach Steve Larkham was looking forward to the No 8's duel with Wycliff Palu.
''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.
Saturday will be the first return to Canberra Stadium for former Brumbies Ricky Elsom and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Ashley-Cooper had 78 caps for the Brumbies and Moore thought it would 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. 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 said. ''He's a very dangerous player so he's got to come in for some attention.''