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    Brumbies not thinking about favourites tag

    2016-03-18 14:05

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - The Brumbies are not only slight favourites to beat the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, but at this early stage they are also favourites to win Super Rugby. 

    They topped the combined log heading into round four and are one of only two sides - the other being the Sharks - still undefeated in the competition. 

    It hasn't taken long for critics and bookmakers to both get in the Brumbies' corner, but according to flyhalf Christian Lealiifano, the hype is not affecting the squad at the moment. 

    "We haven’t really thought too much about it," the 28-year-old said in Cape Town this week.

    "It’s the media putting that label to us … for us as a group we’ve been preparing as best we can week in and week out to play the game we want to play.

    "If people are feeling that we are that (favourites) then we’ve just got to roll with it ... we’ve just got to be making sure that we’re focused on getting our processes right."

    Lealiifano has bitter/sweet memories of Newlands. 

    In the group stages last year he missed a sitter of a conversion with less than 10 minutes to go with his side 25-24 down. That was how the scoreline would stay, and coach Stephen Larkham was forced to defend his flyhalf in the post-match presser. 

    But in the tournament quarter-finals Lealiifano and the Brumbies had the last laugh, triumphing 39-19 as they sent the Stormers crashing out of the tournament. 

    The No 10 says he has come a long way since his missed that conversion. 

    "It’s nice to get some rhythm back and kick well again … it’s not going to be easy. You’ve got to try and just put them through when they matter," he said. 

    "That's all very much in the past now ... we're a new team and so are they."

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:15.

    Teams:

    Stormers 

    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Leolin Zas

    Brumbies

    15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano (co-captain), 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (co-captain), 1 Scott Sio

    Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Robbie Coleman, 23 Nigel Ah Wong

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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