They’re two franchises thousands of kilometres away from the Gold Coast but Saturday night’s clash between the Force and the Brumbies will have a strong Queensland connection.
Four of the players who will feature in the match are former The Southport School students, with a handful more ex-Reds players.
2007 Australian School boys trio Luke Morahan, Ben Tapuai and Jono Lance make up just short of half the Force’s backline, while Jarrad Butler is flying the maroon flag for the Brumbies.
Butler, speaking after the Brumbies’ win over the Waratahs, said he was looking forward to facing off against his ex-teammates
“There'll be lots of former Reds, plenty of former TSS boys so it’ll be good to see them running around again,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Lance has been the standout of the group so far this season, kicking a perfect 10 from 10 in front of goals, while Morahan is the only other Force scorer of 2016, clinching a last-minute try against the Reds.
Butler said it was good to see Lance making the most of his starting chance, as part of a more threatening Force backline.
“Their back line’s been really bolstered.
“With Jono at 10, he’s been playing such good footy even from the NRC last season and then Ben Tapuai, Luke Morahan, they’ve got a lot of attacking threats and that’s just in their back line.
“Jono’s such a good player and to see him starting again is really good.”
The Brumbies head to Perth with the best Australian record but Butler said the result was far from a foregone conclusion.
“Every game’s a tough one,” he said,.
“Especially against the Australian teams and playing in Perth’s so hard with the heat and tough conditions with the support they get.
“We know it’s going to be a big ask.”
Butler has been handed his first start of the season in the match, replacing Ita Vaea (dislocated finger) at number eight.
The Brumbies take on the Force at nib Stadium on Friday night, kicking off at 10:05pm AEDT (7:05pm AWST).