25 August 2020

Home grand final beckons as Brumbies celebrate 25 years

| Henry Jacobs
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Brumbies' 25th anniversary jrsey

The Brumbies will wear a 25th year anniversary jersey against the Western Force on Friday night. Photo: Brumbies Rugby.

The Brumbies can secure a home Super Rugby AU grand final with a win over the Western Force on Friday night as the club celebrates 25 years of professional rugby in the nation’s capital.

Dan McKellar’s side only needs one win from their final two games to lock in top spot on the ladder and hosting rights for the decider on 19 September.

After a comprehensive 38-11 bonus-point win over the NSW Waratahs on the weekend the Brumbies are odds-on to trample the bottom-placed Force and earn a week off after their final round clash with the Queensland Reds.

“If we win on Friday night, we will be hosting the final so there is plenty for us to play for. We won’t be treating the opposition with anything but 110 per cent respect,” McKellar said.

Wallabies trio Tevita Kuridrani, Folau Fainga’a and Joe Powell will likely return to the side after being rested for the Waratahs match – a luxury Friday’s opponents can ill afford after a heavy loss to the Reds.

Force coach Tim Sampson said his team is primed for a big game – and maybe even an upset win – against the Brumbies.

“We can roll over now and just look forward to getting home and look at the finish line, or we can bounce back from what was a very disappointing performance and get a big scalp – get a huge scalp,” Sampson said.

“You have seen us throughout the whole competition, the character and the spirit of this squad, and I am hoping that will show through this week.”

Should the Force pull off an unlikely victory, the Brumbies can still secure top spot with a win over the Reds on Saturday-week. A losing bonus point in both fixtures would see them finish second and host a preliminary final on September 12.

Before the abandonment of the regular Super Rugby season due to COVID-19, the Brumbies were second on the overall ladder. Their continued form is testament to the consistency of Australia’s most successful franchise.

Matt Giteau makes first ACT club rugby appearance in 14 years

Former Brumby Matt Giteau made his first John I Dent Cup appearance since 2006 at a cold Portsea Oval on Saturday.

The 37-year-old came off the bench in the second half of Gungahlin’s clash with the Canberra Royals, but couldn’t help his new side to victory as they fell 19-10.

“Need some louder cheer squads next time. Have to bring mum,” the 103-Test Wallaby joked.

Giteau previously played for Easts but was lured to the Eagles after returning to Canberra when his stint with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

The St Edmund’s College alumni made his Brumbies debut in 2001 and also spent time at the Western Force and French outfit Toulon in a 20-year career at the top of the game. His professional career may well be over with no contract for 2021 and uncertainty over the future of competitions around the globe.

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