Brumbies unchanged for Loftus
Cape Town - The Brumbies have named an unchanged side to take on the Bulls this weekend at Loftus Versfeld as the ACT-based club fights for a spot in the Super Rugby final.
The Bulls have been one of the toughest road trips in the 2013 competition and are yet to drop a game at Loftus this year.
But none of that will matter to the Brumbies on Saturday. It’s been nine years since the club last tasted finals rugby and coach Jake White said his team would be taking its opportunity.
“The Bulls present us with a huge challenge this weekend. We know they will play through their forwards and use Morne (Steyn) to finish with points,” White said.
“They have a good record here at Loftus and for our players to experience running on in front of a full house of more than 50 000 people will be fantastic.
“They are a typical South African side, very big and physical with some quality finishers out wide so it’s up to our players to combat that with our own game.”
Saturday’s clash with the Bulls is the second time the Brumbies have faced off against the Pretoria-based side this season. In Round 7 the Brumbies narrowly avoided a draw when they were awarded a penalty after the siren, eventually winning 23-20.
The last time the Brumbies played at Loftus was in April 2012 when despite outscoring the Bulls five tries to two, the Brumbies still went down 36-34. Steyn booted 23 points that night - including seven penalties - leaving the Brumbies under no illusion as to how important infringements will be in this upcoming fixture.
Along with the Brumbies who have a record of winning seven from eight finals matches at home since 1997, the Bulls have emerged as another side difficult to move during post-season rugby and are undefeated at home with five from five.
Should the Crusaders knock over the Chiefs on Saturday morning (09:35 SA time), the winner of the Bulls v Brumbies encounter will host the final next Saturday.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Morne Mellett, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Jürgen Visser
15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (captain), 7. George Smith, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Ruan Smith, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Andrew Smith, 22. Joe Tomane