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The University of Canberra Brumbies have named an unchanged side to take on the Bulls this weekend at Loftus Versfeld as the ACT-based club fights for a spot in the Super Rugby Grand Final.
The Bulls have been one of the toughest road trips in the 2013 competition and are yet to drop a game at Loftus this year.
But none of that will matter to the Brumbies during the early hours of Sunday morning (AEST). It’s been nine years since the club last tasted finals rugby and Head Coach Jake White said his team would be taking its opportunity.
“The Bulls present us with a huge challenge this weekend. We know they will play through their forwards and use Morne [Steyn] to finish with points,” White said.
“They have a good record here at Loftus and for our players to experience running on in front of a full house of more than 50,000 people will be fantastic.
“They are a typical South African side, very big and physical with some quality finishers out wide so it’s up to our players to combat that with our own game.”
Sunday’s clash with the Bulls is the second time the University of Canberra Brumbies have faced off against the Pretorians this season. In round seven the Brumbies narrowly avoided a draw when they were awarded a penalty after the siren, eventually winning 23-20.
Last time the Brumbies played at Loftus was in April 2012 when despite outscoring the Bulls five tries to two, the Brumbies still went down 36-34. Steyn booted 23 points that night – including seven penalties – leaving the Brumbies under no illusion as to how important infringements will be in this upcoming fixture.
Along with the University of Canberra Brumbies who have a record of winning seven from eight finals matches at home since 1997, the Bulls have emerged as another side difficult to move during post-season rugby and are undefeated at home with five from five.
Should the Crusaders be able to knock over the Chiefs on Saturday night, the winner of the Brumbies v Bulls encounter will host the Grand Final next Saturday night.
Bulls v University of Canberra Brumbies
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 5pm local time (1am AEST)
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Peter Kimlin
7. George Smith
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Clyde Rathbone
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruan Smith
18. Fotu Auelua
19. Colby Faingaa
20. Ian Prior
21. Andrew Smith
22. Joe Tomane
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!