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Super Rugby Preview: Chiefs v Brumbies


A rematch of last year’s quarter-final and the 2013 Super Rugby Final as well, the Chiefs face the Brumbies at Yarrow Stadium.

Stephen Larkham’s men were arguably the standout side over Round 1, despite many focusing their attention on how poor the Reds were instead of how the Brumbies ran red hot. With their nearly all-Wallaby backline and an inspired performance from David Pocock on his return, the Brumbies were more or less unstoppable. It helps to have two such dominant half-backs as Nic White and Matt Toomua, with White’s tactical kicking a really noticeable quality. His individual try, grubbering the ball through Will Genia’s legs, was simply too good.

Of course White and Toomua can’t start weaving magic out wide without the dominance of their forward pack. Sam Carter and Scott Fardy are now Wallaby favourites, with the former winning ten lineouts and stealing one against the hapless Reds.

Excelling at the set-piece has been a Brumbies strong point since Jake White first took over and against the Reds they lost just one out of 25. Another week however brings a bigger challenge for the Brumbies; namely stopping the Chiefs and Sonny Bill Williams from fracturing their defence. One they are ready for.

It speaks volumes about the Chiefs that even with many youngsters stepping up against the Blues, especially the outstanding Damian McKenzie, now the 2012 and 2013 champions can recall the quality of guys like Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden and Brodie Retallick.

Friday will also be the first chance to see new signing Hosea Gear in action after his stints overseas, with the veteran hungry to impress in a Rugby World Cup year. Dave Rennie’s squad is deep and rich, packed with talent, which is why there are such high expectations for the Chiefs in this year’s competition. Losing Friday’s clash wouldn’t be a disaster in the wider context of the season, but it will provide a useful yardstick for Rennie and his coaching staff to evaluate where they must improve, if a third title in four seasons is to come back to Waikato.

You can guarantee that win or lose, they will play with plenty of style.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie: “There is a huge amount of competition for places and we are excited to have our returning All Blacks back in the mix. Between our team and the Brumbies there are plenty of world class players on display and with the styles both teams like to play it will be a real positive game.”

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Ita Vaea back to the starting side for the first time in two years. In my time in rugby this has been one of the great fight-back stories, right up there with Julian Huxley, and I’m pleased for Ita that he’s been able to make a full return to the starting side.

There’s no doubt we’ll miss David Pocock, but as the Brumbies Player’s Player in 2014 Jarrad Butler was outstanding and I’m excited to see him back in the number seven jersey.

Last 10 Games played between the Chiefs and Brumbies
19-Jul-14 Brumbies 32 – 30 Chiefs
25-Apr-14 Brumbies 41 – 23 Chiefs
3-Aug-13 Chiefs 27 – 22 Brumbies
16-Mar-12 Chiefs 29 – 22 Brumbies
19-Feb-11 Brumbies 28 – 20 Chiefs
26-Mar-10 Brumbies 30 – 23 Chiefs
15-May-09 Chiefs 10 – 07 Brumbies
4-Apr-08 Brumbies 28 – 42 Chiefs
3-Feb-07 Chiefs 15 – 21 Brumbies
25-Mar-06 Brumbies 28 – 26 Chiefs
Overall Stats Chiefs Overall Stats Brumbies
Games Played 21 Games Played 21
*Games Won 7 *Games Won 13
*Games Lost 13 *Games Lost 7
Games Drawn 1 Games Drawn 1
*Longest.Winning.Streak 2 *Longest.Winning.Streak 6
*Longest Losing Streak 6 *Longest Losing Streak 2
*Largest Points For 42 *Largest Points For 55
*Largest Points Against 55 *Largest Points Against 42
*Largest.Winning.Margin 20 *Largest.Winning.Margin 43
*Largest Losing Margin -43 *Largest Losing Margin -20
*Total Points For 482 *Total Points For 619
*Avg Points For 22.95 *Avg Points For 29.48
*Total Points Against 619 *Total Points Against 482
*Avg Points Against 29.48 *Avg Points Against 22.95
*Total Points Difference -137 *Total Points Difference 137
*Avg Points Difference -6.52 *Avg Points Difference 6.52
* = By Chiefs * = By Brumbies

The teams: Chiefs: 15 James Lowe, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Jamie Mackintosh. Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White (c), 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore 17 JP Smith 18 Ruan Smith 19 Jordan Smiler 20 Sean Doyle 21 Michael Dowsett 22 James Dargaville 23 Lausii Taliauli Date: Friday, February 20 Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth Kick-off: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT) Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia) Assistant Referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand) TMO: Glen Newman (New Zealand round2

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