Injury Toll Rising For Brumbies

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Anish Debiky/AFP
Jesse Mogg is one of the fit Brumbies stars. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Anish Debik/AFP

Brumbies v Stormers

Saturday, March 22 – 6:40pm (AEST)

Canberra Stadium

What did they do last week? The Brumbies reinforced their status as the best team in the Australian Conference with a 28-23 win over arch rivals the Waratahs. The Stormers suffered a 36-20 loss at the hands of defending champs the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Things you need to know: The Brumbies are flying after three straight wins but their early-season injury toll is becoming a concern. Tevita Kuridrani is the latest withdrawal after returning to Fiji to attend a funeral. David Pocock (knee), Fotu Auelua (knee), Clyde Rathbone (hamstring), Scott Sio (ankle), Henry Speight (jaw), Leon Power (knee) and Christian Lealiifano (ankle) are all sidelined through injury. Despite their injury woes, Stephen Larkham's men lead the Australian Conference and sit third overall.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes after starting their Australasian tour with consecutive losses to the Chiefs and Crusaders. Veteran Peter Grant has been given a reprieve at flyhalf while elusive Springbok Juan de Jongh returns from injury via the bench. The Stormers have managed just one win from four games so far to sit third in the South African conference and 14th overall.

Reason to watch: Jesse Mogg. The Brumbies full-back was in electrifying form against the Waratahs and appears full of early-season confidence after making his Wallabies debut last season.

Reason to turn away: The Stormers will more than likely try to bash their way to victory with a boring game plan that involves a heap of kicking and a lot of fat blokes hitting the ball up from first receiver.

Say what: "This is going to be a physically confronting game. Those guys are massive boys in the forwards and they've got some big backs as well. We're looking for a very physical game," – Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham.

Final instructions: The Stormers have won the past two meetings between these two including a 16-3 victory in Canberra on their most recent visit in 2011. That was the Stormers' only triumph in seven trips to the national capital. But a lot has changed for the Brumbies in three years and they are a far more formidable opponent in 2014. Last week's win over the Waratahs was a major statement while the Stormers were no match for the Chiefs to continue a miserable start to the season. The visitors will be desperate but the injury-hit Brumbies should have enough class left on the park to continue their winning streak. Brumbies by eight.

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