Brumbies setpiece could trouble Kiwis: Gibson

Super Rugby
by AAP

NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson believes Australian Super Rugby rivals the Brumbies can trouble the Highlanders with their setpiece strength in Friday's quarter-final in Canberra.

The Brumbies secured a home game against the defending champions after edging out the Waratahs for the Australian conference title.

A stiff test awaits them in the Highlanders, who beat them 23-10 in Invercargill earlier this year.

"I think if the Brumbies can play to their strengths, thats the setpiece, they can trouble the Highlanders," Gibson said.

"(Brumbies coach) Stephen (Larkham) will no doubt come up with some tactics that he thinks will trouble the Highlanders."

New Zealand teams have won 21 of 25 Super Rugby fixtures against Australian opposition this year.

The Hurricanes-Crusaders game will be a blueprint for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesAccording to Gibson, one of the Kiwis own may have shown the Brumbies how to go about the job of shutting down the offloading skills which have been a hallmark of the New Zealand teams play this year.

"Trying to shut down the tackle offload game and the continuity of the New Zealand teams is the first thing you've got to solve." Gibson said.

"If you looked at the Hurricanes-Crusaders (last round) game, the way the Hurricanes defended was a blueprint for every other team team playing a New Zealand team."

Gibson wasn't fretting over the controversial competition draw which forced the Australian teams to play all the New Zealand sides, something which not all the South African franchises had to do.

New Zealand teams occupied four of the top six spots on the overall ladder and could grab all the semi-final spots, as they each play quarter-finals against overseas sides.

Gibson acknowledged there had been criticism of the draw in some quarters but had no qualms about it.

"The NZ teams are setting the pace, they are certainly the benchmark," Gibson said.

"For us (the Australian teams) I think it's a great thing that we get to play them because it's an opportunity for us to see exactly where we are at."