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Brumbies

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Super RugbyIt was a weekend of drama and excitement in South Africa as the DHL Stormers moved to the Top of the local Super Rugby Conference and the Emirates Lions kept alive their dream of reaching the Top 6.

The Emirates Lions beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 34 / 29 in an 8-try humdinger on Saturday afternoon to record their 6th victory of the season, making 2015 their 2nd best yet but with 6 Rounds to go.

Last year, the Emirates Lions finished with 7 wins, 2 better than their 5 from 2007, but they are on track to better their best in the coming weeks.

The Toyota Cheetahs also deserve a lot of credit for never giving up as they returned to Bloemfontein with 2 bonus points.

The 2nd local match on Saturday delivered heaps of drama and the result was in the balance right until the end, but the DHL Stormers hung on for their 2nd victory over the Vodacom Bulls this season as they won by 15 / 13.

The visitors from Pretoria scored the only try of the match when Bjorn Basson went over early in the 2nd half, but the match-clinching moment came at the death when Duane Vermeulen charged down an attempted drop-goal by Handré Pollard to lead his side to their 7th win of the season.

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Sam Carter

Sam Carter

Brumbies lock Sam Carter will miss this weekend’s clash with the Highlanders following the death of a close family friend who tragically passed away last weekend playing for the Quirindi Lions.

The Wallaby lock’s family are still based in Quirindi and he will be allowed to return home for the funeral and for as long as he needs.

“At a time like this, rugby takes a back seat. From our point of view family is extremely important,” said Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told the Canberra Times.

“Player welfare is extremely important and it’s right for Sam and his family to be up there with the current situation.”

Blake Enever will replace Carter in the second row in Canberra.

2 South African brothers start for the Brumbies on the weekend, JP & Ruan Smith.

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HighlandersThe Highlanders have made wholesale changes to their team to face the Brumbies in Canberra this weekend.

Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Smith and Ben Smith are all rested as part of the agreement with New Zealand Rugby to rest All Blacks ahead of the World Cup, while there are also a number of changes in the pack.

Trent Renata comes in at fullback, with Richard Buckman joining Shaun Treeby in the centres and Fumiaki Tanaka taking over scrumhalf duties.

Up front, meanwhile, Pingi Tala’apitaga and Tom Franklin bolster the tight 5, while Joe Latta and Josh Renton are set to make their Super Rugby debuts off the bench.

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Michael Cheika - Wallabies coach

Michael Cheika – Wallabies coach

The Australian conference’s struggles in Super Rugby has alarm bells ringing Down Under, where media pundits have condemned the nation’s lack of playing depth in a Rugby World Cup year.

4 Of Australia’s teams, including the reigning champion Waratahs, are mired in the bottom 6 of the 15-team southern hemisphere competition halfway through the season.

The 5th, Canberra-based Brumbies, are 2nd but battling to hold ground against New Zealand and South African rivals amid a mounting injury toll.

The conference’s solid performance last season, when the Waratahs broke through for their maiden title and the Brumbies reached the semi-finals, was hailed as a sign of the increasing depth of Australian rugby.

Those achievements have been quickly forgotten, with the Melbourne Rebels, Reds and Western Force conjuring a total of 5 wins between them from the opening 9 Rounds.

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Matt Toomua

Matt Toomua

The Brumbies are facing a test of their squad depth after their Super Rugby defeat on Friday against the Blues.

ACT and Wallaby pivot Matt Toomua has been sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks with an ankle syndesmosis injury suffered in their 14 / 16 loss the Auckland outfit.

The in-form Brumbies prop Scott Sio, who was replaced just after halftime, suffered a knee medial ligament strain.

Sio is staring down the barrel of 6 to 8 weeks out with only 9 Rounds of the Super Rugby regular season remaining.

Inside centre Christian Lealiifano is the likely candidate to take the reins at flyhalf for their upcoming fixture against the Melbourne Rebels, while South African born JP Smith is set to replace Sio at prop.

Utility back James Dargaville, who is a convert from flank to wing, is to undergo scans to identify whether he has broken bones in his foot, which could potentially result in a similar recovery period to Sio.

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The Brumbies have launched a special edition jersey to commemorate 100 years since the Anzac landing.

The Brumbies will proudly wear the jersey against the Highlanders at GIO Stadium, Canberra on 24 April, as part of the Anzac weekend celebrations.

The jersey, which features poppies on the body panels, camo and the ‘Soldier On’ logo on its back, is now on sale via the club website or at Brumbies HQ at the University of Canberra.

BrumbiesThe Brumbies have named an unchanged starting side Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Blues having come through last week’s win over the Toyota Cheetahs unscathed.

On the bench JP Smith reclaims his spot as back-up prop with Allan Alaalatoa dropping out of the match-day 23.

Given the Blues strength up front and unpredictability in the backs, the game promises to be a massive battle which will test the Brumbies across the park.

Brumbies and Wallabies prop Scott Sio said his side would need to be on top its game to make and impact on Friday night.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Australian veteran hooker Stephan Moore, has backed the trend of foreign league sabbaticals as a way of keeping the Wallabies’s best talent in the country.

With the Australian Rugby Union allowing some Wallabies to take overseas sabbaticals, it could see some international players enjoying an almost constant season – playing Super Rugby, then playing for Australia, then heading to a foreign league like Japan before returning for the next Super Rugby season.

The Brumbies skipper said it was then up to the player himself to ensure he is not indulging in too much rugby, running the risk of burning-out in a long-winded never-ending season.

He had confidence it was something Wallabies coach Michael Cheika would keep an eye on.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

David Pocock’s principled stand against homophobia on the field will cost him any chance of captaining Australia again, says former Wallaby Greg Martin.

Pocock’s on-field complaints to the referee led to Waratahs forward Jacques Potgieter being fined AU$ 20 000.00 for using homophobic slurs during his side’s win over the Brumbies on Sunday.

Respected rugby commentator Martin says Pocock did the right thing in speaking out but his action will split opinion in the game.

“He’ll pay for it. It will mean that he will never captain the Wallabies again,” Martin told Brisbane’s Triple M radio on Tuesday.

“What he’s done, he hasn’t fractured the game down a Waratahs-Brumbies line… It won’t be fractured down like that, but it will be fractured upon clear-thinking, modern-thinking footballers who will support David Pocock and the more old school, hard heads who will say that was a disgrace he shouldn’t have done that.

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Tevita Kuridrani

Tevita Kuridrani

The Brumbies have been left with a gap in the midfield following news that destructive outside centre Tevita Kuridrani will be sidelined for 2 months with a shoulder injury.

It is just the second major blow to the Brumbies’ injury list this season.

Scans suggested Kuridrani damaged his AC joint in the 13 / 28 loss to the Waratahs at the weekend.

The skilful Wallaby centre will luckily avoid surgery and that could mark an earlier return to the field if his rehabilitation goes well.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

Allegations of homophobic slurs marred a resounding return to form for defending champions the Waratahs, who delivered a 28 / 13 win over arch rivals the Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday.

It is understood a NSW forward will be investigated for allegedly using the word “faggot” when addressing two different Brumbies players in the second half of the blockbuster derby at Allianz Stadium. The Brumbies made a formal complaint after the match.

Brumbies flanker David Pocock took the allegation to referee Craig Joubert in the 67th minute as his side trailed by 10 points, and made his concerns known again in the 72nd minute. Joubert said he did not hear the remarks – allegedly made at scrum time – but asked NSW captain Michael Hooper to have a word to his forwards.

“I’m getting some pretty aggressive comments coming from your guys – that there are homophobic slurs,” Joubert said. Hooper replied: “We’re not into that”.

But that did little to satisfy Pocock, who is a vocal supporter for same sex marriage rights.

“You heard that sir … you can’t say that, there could be gay players out there.” Pocock continued: “That’s fine, but after that their captain said: ‘That’s rugby’. That’s not right.”

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David Pocock

David Pocock

Wallabies flank David Pocock will return via the Brumbies bench this Sunday when the team travels to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.

Pocock hasn’t featured for the Brumbies since Round 1, but the former Wallabies and Brumbies captain has successfully rehabbed a syndesmosis injury and is the only change in a 23 man-squad named to tackle the reigning champs.

For the 3rd-straight week the Brumbies have named an unchanged starting side.

Head coach Stephen Larkham’s backline has remained consistent since Round 1 and Captain Stephen Moore is back in the driver’s seat for his 3rd straight game as skipper.

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WaratahsThe Waratahs team to take on the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium this Sunday has been named, with 3 changes from last week’s team.

Taqele Naiyaravoro and Tolu Latu have been brought into the starting side, while Hugh Roach has been named on the bench for the first time in 2015.

Tatafu Polota-Nau misses out through injury, hence Latu’s starting spot, while Naiyaravoro comes in for Peter Betham.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Wallaby and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is backing the Waratahs to upset the Brumbies, but he acknowledged that on current form the men from Canberra are Australia’s best team.

Cheika, who is carefully juggling his Waratahs and Wallaby coaching jobs in the lead-up to the World Cup, said the Waratahs are close to reproducing the championship-winning form that saw them claim their first Super Rugby title in 2014.

Speaking ahead of the much-anticipated all-Australian derby – Waratahs versus Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday – Cheika said he is confident the Tahs will turn around a season that could spin out of control if they lose this week again.

With just 2 wins from 4 starts, the Waratahs are hovering in mid-table – already 10 points behind the table-topping Brumbies, albeit just a point outside a Top 6 spot.

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Tevita Kuridrani

Tevita Kuridrani

Wallabies and Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani has signed a 2-year contract extension with Australian Rugby that will take him through until the end of the 2017 season.

Kuridrani joins Wallabies Nick Phipps, Sean McMahon, Rob Horne, Sam Carter and Scott Fardy who have committed to the Australian Rugby Union in recent months.

The 23-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the Wallabies rising stars since his maiden Test campaign in 2013, where he has since worn the gold jersey 20 times scoring 4 tries.

Kuridrani is highly respected amongst his peers, having polled strongly with 202 votes in the John Eales medal in his last international season.

However, the Fijian-born flyer still feels the need to improve as a player.

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RedsBrumbiesReds (0) 0 / 29 (10) Brumbies (Final Score)

The Reds and Brumbies did battle in Super Rugby at

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 10:40 SA Time (18:40 Brisbane Time, 19:40 AEDT, 08:40 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

*******************

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Ita Vaea

Ita Vaea

Ita Vaea will complete a remarkable and dramatic comeback from a serious heart condition to start for the Brumbies for the first time since 2012.

Jarrad Butler moves to openside flank this Friday when the Brumbies travel to New Zealand’s north island to face the Chiefs.

A syndesmosis injury to David Pocock forced the change, with Vaea featuring at No 8 and in the starting side for the first time in 2 years.

The last time Vaea started for the Brumbies was under Jake White in 2012 and the Tongan powerhouse hasn’t featured at the back of the scrum since 2011.

Vaea has battled a serious heart condition for more than 2 years, with last week’s 30-minute effort against the Reds his 1st Super Rugby time since coming from the bench to beat the Waratahs in Sydney back in Round 15 of 2012.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

David Pocock will not be available for selection this Friday after receiving a grade-one syndesmosis to his ankle during Friday’s win over the Reds in Canberra.

Pocock did not train with the main squad on Monday. He said it was now a matter of getting his ankle right for a quick return to the field.

“Obviously it’s a disappointing outcome and not what I wanted, having spent a long time out. But it’s treatable and I know I’m in good hands here with the Brumbies medical team,” Pocock said.

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BrumbiesThree Super Rugby debutants have been named in the Brumbies 23-man squad which will take on the Reds on Friday in Canberra.

Rory Arnold (lock), James Dargaville (wing – bench) and Lausii Taliauli (outside backs – bench) have all registered selections. The trio will join three other big names returning from injury, with David Pocock set to captain the side while Club Captain Stephen Moore and Ita Vaea will also feature on the bench.

Pocock and Moore’s high-profile injury lay-offs due to knee reconstructions are over, while Vaea’s 2-year battle with a heart condition has also been put to bed.

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BrumbiesCanberra Super Rugby franchise the Brumbies have secured their financial future by signing a six-year deal with integrated resorts company Aquis as the Principal Partner and Naming Rights Sponsor of the Brumbies.

The partnership, which extends until the end of the 2020 season, is effective immediately. Brumbies players will run out for their first game of the 2015 Super Rugby season against the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium on Friday night with the Aquis logo on the front of their jerseys.

Aquis specialises in the development of entertainment based resorts that concentrate a wide range of tourism-oriented attractions into single, large-scale facilities. The company’s Australian portfolio includes the proposed Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort and the recently acquired Casino Canberra.

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David Pocock

David Pocock

Former Wallabies skipper David Pocock escaped conviction on Wednesday over a protest against an Australian coal mine in which he locked himself to a digger.

Pocock was arrested in late November after he attached himself to the machine for 10 hours to protest against the Maules Creek coal mine in a New South Wales state forest.

The 26-year-old flank pleaded guilty at Gunnedah Local Court to hindering a workman in use of property but the charge was dismissed without conviction.

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Force vs Brumbies warm-upThe Force opened its 2015 Super Rugby pre-season campaign with a 31-21 victory over the Brumbies at McGillivray Oval on Friday evening.

The home side dominated the first half, transferring pressure into points with three unanswered tries to Luke Morahan, Chris Alcock and Marcel Brache to lead 17-7 at the break.

While the visitors claimed the better running of the third term, the Western Australians closed out the match with two tries in the final 20 minutes to run out 10-point victors.

Force head coach Michael Foley said there was some positive signs ahead of the club’s 10th season of Super Rugby.

“That first 40 was exactly what we wanted; it was a tough contest and we won that first 20 and came out on top at half time,” he said.

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BrumbiesThe Brumbies will field 8 Wallabies, including David Pocock, this Friday – when they head to Perth to face the Force in the first Super Rugby hit-out of 2015.

In the backs the likes of Matt Toomua, Nic White, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane and Henry Speight will all feature, while 2014 top-try scorer Robbie Coleman will also travel west for the game.

The Players’ Player of the Year, Jarrad Butler, fronts a strong pack of Brumbies forwards – including Pocock, who has been named for the first time since February last year when he suffered a ruptured ACL.

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Sekope Kepu

Sekope Kepu

Both Sekope Kepu (Waratahs) and Nic White (Brumbies), have added their names to the long list of Australian Players who will pack up and go play rugby in France after the Rugby World Cup of 2015.

 

Sekope Kepu:

Australian international prop Sekope Kepu has become the latest addition to the conveyor belt moving players from the Southern Hemisphere to France.

Kepu signed a three-year deal with ambitious Top 14 club Bordeaux-Begles.

The 28-year-old Wallaby – who will join after this year’s World Cup – is the second player from the Waratahs to join the club coached by former France captain Raphael Ibanez.

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Jerry Yanuyanutawa

Glasgow Warriors prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa was coached by Jake White at the Brumbies

Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.

The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.

Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Nic White and David Pocock will help lead the Brumbies as vice-captains in 2015, after head coach Stephen Larkham and captain Stephen Moore made the announcement on Thursday.

Both Pocock and White have proven leadership qualities having led professional sides on the big stage in the past.

White was named the Brumbies youngest captain against the Hurricanes in 2013, while Pocock has captained both the Wallabies and the Western Force.

A former Brumbies academy captain, White said he was thrilled to have been acknowledged with the vice-captaincy of the main squad.

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