It’s been a mixed start to the 2015 Asteron life Super Rugby season for the NSW Waratahs, who have won just two of their opening four matches. However, the 2014 champions return home for the first time since round one for some Sunday afternoon rugby at Allianz Stadium. Israel Folau is adjusting to his new role of outside centre/fullback, as Michael Cheika looks to get his most attacking player closer to the play. The loss of Tatafu Polota-Nau could be vital to the Waratahs’ chances up front, with Aquis Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore showing impressive form of late.
The Aquis Brumbies have been the form side of the competition so far, winning four of their five matches and sitting comfortably on top of the Australian conference ladder. The Brumbies have scored the most points (140) this year and conceded the least (52), which shows the attacking game plan Head Coach Stephen Larkham has introduced in the off-season. However, the men from Canberra face one of their toughest challenges yet as they look to extend their lead.
Last time they met
The last time these two teams met was July 2014 in the Asteron Life Super Rugby semi-final. The Waratahs outclassed the Brumbies 26-8 in front of almost 40,000 screaming fans at Allianz Stadium. On the night it was forwards Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgeiter & halfback Nick Phipps that lead the way for the home side, with flyhalf Bernard Foley sealing the victory with a late try. However, it’s a new year, a new competition and the Brumbies will be different side!
Key match-up – Michael Cheika vs Stephen Larkham
This fixture is a battle of the Qantas Wallabies coaching team, with Michael Cheika facing off against Stephen Larkham. This will be the first time the two have coached against each other since it was announced that Larkham had joined the national coaching team. While both sides are fighting for a Super Rugby victory, you can be sure there will be more to prove with just four months until the first Test match of the year and six months until the Rugby World Cup.
What they said – NSW Waratahs
After a couple of weeks on the road, NSW Waratahs winger Rob Horne is excited play some Sunday afternoon rugby at Allianz Stadium.
“It’s nice to finally have a game at home, especially being a Sunday afternoon, and hopefully we can turn it on in front of a hostile home-crowd,” Horne said.
“We always try to play attractive rugby, no matter what the conditions, but it would be great if the track was dry and we can put on an impressive display.”
What they said – Brumbies
Brumbies captain Stephen Moore has highlighted consistency as key focus for his side to overcome the NSW Waratahs on Sunday.
“It certainly helps having consistency through the group week in, week out. Bringing David off the bench is exciting not only for him but for the rest of the boys, we all enjoy playing with him,” Moore said.
“This is a big game in the context of our season. They are the current champions and to knock them off at home would be huge for us moving into to the middle of our season.”