The Brumbies will be looking forward to another trip away from the ACT this week when they travel down to Wollongong this Friday (6 March) to take on the Sunwolves at WIN stadium.
The game was originally scheduled to take place in Japan, the home of the Sunwolves, but due to growing concerns about coronavirus, the match was rescheduled to the Gong.
Dan McKellar’s men return to Super Rugby football after their bye in round five and look to build on their best performance of 2020 against the Chiefs in Hamilton a fortnight ago.
The Brumbies coach hasn’t visited Wollongong before and though he is saddened by what is happening to their opponents, it’s another experience he and his team are looking forward to on Friday.
“We always enjoy going away. We love going to Japan and it’s sad to see the situation the Sunwolves are in at the moment,” McKellar explained.
“It’s good to go a couple of hours down the road for an overnight game in Wollongong, it’s a beautiful place so they tell me, so I’m looking forward to getting there and performing well.”
As for their opponents, the Sunwolves head to the Gong after a nightmare start to 2020, which included conceding 64 points against the Reds in Queensland in round four before shipping 62 against New Zealand outfit the Hurricanes last round.
Despite the Sunwolves’ struggles to defend their try line, McKellar stated that the Japanese outfit have looked good in patches over the last few weeks and cannot be counted out by anyone.
“We expect the unexpected,” McKellar said. “They will chip, offload and they will play from side to side, and if you aren’t organised in defence they can hurt you if you don’t give them the respect.
“Even the games in recent weeks where they have had some tough results, there have been periods leading into half-time when they have been in the game, so we will give them plenty of respect.”
McKellar has made two changes to the team that picked up that famous victory in New Zealand. Ryan Lonergan will wear the number nine jersey and Toni Pulu will go out on the wing, both running on for their first game this season.
The Brumbies Super Rugby round five matchup with the Sunwolves will take place Friday, 6 March at 2:45 pm at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Team list for Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Connal McInerney, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Murray Douglas, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Toni Pulu, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks
Substitutes: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. James Slipper, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Joe Powell, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Tom Wright.