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Super Rugby Preview: Brumbies v Blues

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Thursday, May 2, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Brumbies v Blues, 9.45pm (NZT), GIO Stadium, Canberra, May 4, 2019

Played: 23
Won: Brumbies 9, Blues 14
Last time: Brumbies 16-18 Blues, Canberra, April 30, 2017
Referee: Damon Murphy

FORM

After losing to the Rebels 27-34 in their first game of the season, the Brumbies beat the Chiefs 54-17 but then lost away games against the Hurricanes 13-43 and the Rebels 26-29 before beating the Waratahs 19-13. They then lost away to the Reds 14-36 and the Crusaders by the same score. Back home they beat the Lions 31-20 and then away to the Stormers 19-17 before losing away to the Jaguares 15-20. The Blues lost three in a row in their opening games against the Crusaders 22-24, the Sharks 7-26a and the Jaguares 19-23a before going on a four-game home winning streak to beat the Sunwolves 28-20, the Highlanders 33-26, the Stormers 24-9 and the Waratahs 32-29. Then they lost their away games to the Chiefs 29-33 and the Highlanders 12-24.
QUICK TAP: HIGHLANDERS V CHIEFS MATCH PREVIEW
INJURIES HIT BRUMBIES

Injuries have hit the Brumbies hard with centre Tevita Kuridrani the latest to succumb, out for Saturday's game with a slight medial ligament strain. That has resulted in former Wallabies junior Len Ikitau being called in to make his debut. A Queenslander, Ikitau moved south two years ago to join the Brumbies and is rated 'a tackling machine' by team coach Dan McKellar. David Pocock's absence with an on-going calf injury continues to frustrate not only him but also his coach. McKellar said, "He's pushing hard and wants to make a contribution on field and it's been a disappointing few weeks for him. We've made progress but he's just not right so he's another week or two away. There is light at the end of the tunner but I can't give an exact date."

BLUES RETURN TO KEY PLOY

Going back to what has served them best as they continue to resurrect their performances, the Blues will bring power off the bench for the latter stages of the game. Coach Leon MacDonald said, "We did well earlier in the season with some real ammunition off the bench to add significant energy in the final quarter of the game and we feel we have that capability with this team. Also some of these players have carried some big loads and this is their opportunity to provide a different role for us." Hooker James Parsons, prop Karl Tu'inukuafe, lock Patrick Tuipulotu, flanker Dalton Papalii and halfback Augustine Pulu will be the players entrusted with providing the impact.

THE SCOOP

The Blues have never won more than three consecutive games against the Brumbies, but they have done that three times without ever managing a fourth.

FAST FACT

The Brumbies have won five of their last six games at home, including their last three.

TEAMS:

Brumbies: 1.James Slipper, 2.Folau Faingaa, 3.Allan Alaalatoa, 4.Rory Arnold, 5.Sam Carter, 6.Jahrome Brown, 7.Tom Cusack, 8.Pete Samu, 9.Joe Powell, 10.Christican Lealiifano, 11.Toni Pulu, 12.Irae Simone, 13.Len Ikitau, 14.Henry Speight, 15.Tom Banks.

Substitutes: 16.Conal McInerney, 17.Scott Sio, 18.Les Leuluaiahi-Makin, 19.Darcy Swan, 20.Murray Douglas, 21.Ryan Lonergan, 22.Tom Wright, 23.Andy Muirhead.

Blues: 1.Alex Hodgman, 2.Leni Apisai, 3.Ofa Tuungafasi, 4.Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5.Josh Goodhue, 6.Tom Robinson, 7.Blake Gibson (captain), 8.Akira Ioane; 9.Sam Nock, 10.Otere Black, 11.Caleb Clarke, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.TJ Faiane, 14.Matt Duffie, 15.Melani Nanai.
Substitutes: 16.James Parsons, 17.Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18.Marcel Renata, 19.Patrick Tuipulotu, 20.Dalton Papalii, 21.Augustine Pulu, 22.Harry Plummer, 23.Levi Aumua.