Brumbies wary of wounded Waratahs

Henry Speight of the Brumbies (left) is tackled by Brynard Stander of the Western Force (right)
Henry Speight of the Brumbies (left) is tackled by Brynard Stander of the Western Force (right) LUKAS COCH

THEY'RE full of confidence after a breakthrough first win and expect cavalry in the form of Wallabies duo Scott Fardy and Scott Sio to return this week.

But as high as the Brumbies' spirit is running, the ACT men won't be bank​ing on​ rivals the Waratahs ​being ​contrastingly low and kicking stones when they meet in Sydney on ​Saturday. ​

Two heavy losses in South Africa w​ill​ have undoubtedly dented NSW's morale but such is the long-standing rivalry between the Waratahs and their Canberra cousins, ACT captain Sam Carter knows too well that form lines won't count for much​ when they resume their feud at Allianz Stadium​.

"When you play the Tahs it's always tough," Carter said.

"It doesn't matter if they're coming back from South Africa or they're coming off a loss or a win at whatever. We're going to have to step up our game next week."

The Brumbies picked up their first win of the season on Friday night by downing the Western Force in a hard-fought win.

It wasn't pretty but ​the Brumbies didn't mind one bit.

Beating the Force and pocketing the four points came as a blessed relief for the ​Canberra men, who had lost their opening matches to the Crusaders and Sharks by narrow margins.

Coach Stephen Larkham was a man particularly pleased after taking the gamble of resting Fardy for the Force clash, due to a short turnaround​ from the Sharks game​.

The Brumbies have the advantage of a longer turnaround than NSW for their ​single​ clash this season - a fixture that usually goes a long way to deciding the Australian conference - which means Fardy's early season "break" will run to 14 days by game-time.


Israel Folau of the Waratahs is tackled by Tendai Mtawarira and Andre Esterhuizen of the Sharks
Israel Folau of the Waratahs is tackled by Tendai Mtawarira and Andre Esterhuizen of the Sharks Samuel Shivambu

"We're trying to be tactical and smart about how we approach the whole season," Larkham said.

"The good thing is "Fards" is rested up and we have an eight-day turnaround before our next game."

Larkham wouldn't confirm Fardy would come straight back into the starting no. 6 but it'd be highly doubtful he'd leave him out of a Waratahs' derby.

"Fards is a world-class player and we're just being smart with how we're managing him," Larkham said.

"I am not going to say in terms of our selection but you can put two and two together and know he's a world class player. We'll make the right decision."

The Brumbies are likely to also be boosted by the return of Test prop Scott Sio.

Sio suffered a hamstring injury in the off-season and hasn't played this year, but after resuming full training last week is set to pull on the boots in Sydney. With a strong roster of props, it's considered likely Sio will return via the Brumbies bench.

News Corp Australia

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