13 March 2020

Brumbies in need of traditional rivalry boost

| Michael Djordjieski
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James Slipper

James Slipper (standing) knows all the importance that is attached to the Brumbies v Waratahs rivalry. Photo: Brumbies Media/Lachlan Lawson.

When it comes to Australian rugby, there isn’t a rivalry close to the Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs.

When these two sides lock horns, they’re after more than competition points.

There’s definite friction between the two Australian outfits and it’ll be on show this Sunday afternoon at GIO Stadium in Bruce.

The Brumbies will be hoping it provides the spark to bring crowds back to watching live rugby.

Despite starting their season with four victories and just the one agonising loss, the negative narrative surrounding their campaign thus far is the inability to attract fans to GIO Stadium.

It’s startling because performances on the field could not be any better from Dan McKellar’s team, but that has not been reflected in the attendance figures.

They have not been able to bring in more than 7,500 fans for their first three home games this campaign; however, with the Waratahs coming to town, the Brumbies hope to crack the elusive 10,000 mark.

Brumbies forward James Slipper penned a new two-year extension with the Canberrans on Thursday morning (March 12) and despite being a Queenslander at heart, he knows the significance of the rivalry, referred to as ‘Tah week’.

“The Brumbies boys love Tah week and being a Queenslander it’s always easy to get up for a New South Wales game,” Slipper said. “We are hoping there is a big crowd on Sunday because we are really looking forward to it.

“When you come to the Brumbies you learn about the history of the game between the two sides … It all just adds to the game and I’m keen to be involved in it. Rivalries are good for rugby, it’s why we love playing in big games and I’m sure they are no different, they will want to come beat us up.”

The hosts have made three changes for the clash on Sunday as Slipper, Joe Powell and Andy Muirhead have all been recalled to the starting line up to replace Scott Sio, Ryan Lonergan and Toni Pulu.

Waratahs full-back Kurtley Beale is set to make his 148th Super Rugby appearance, which will equal Benn Robinson’s record as the most capped Super Rugby Waratah.

The Brumbies head into Sunday’s game with a slight mental edge given they walked away victors 19-13 in this fixtures last encounter at the same venue.

Team list for Brumbies: 1. James Slipper, 2. Connal McInerney, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Murray Douglas, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Andy Muirhead, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks.

Substitutes: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Bayley Kuenzle, 23. Tom Wright.

The Brumbies will host the NSW Waratahs on Sunday (15 March) at 4:05 pm at GIO Stadium. Gates open at 1:15 pm for the Super W competition between the Brumbies and the Queensland Reds.

Get tickets for this seasons second doubleheader at Ticketek.

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