Super Rugby 2017: Brumbies v Lions Preview


The Lions will be looking for another win on tour when they take on the Brumbies this Friday. 

The Brumbies, as abysmal as they have been this Super Rugby season, find themselves in second place on the combined Australasia Conference due to the appalling format of the competition. This Friday sees them host a Lions side that hasn’t lost since their second-stringers went down in Buenos Aires in Round 3, and who come into this one fresh off of 10-47 demolition of the Rebels in Melbourne. Stephen Larkham’s bunch will certainly be up against it this Friday and will need anything and everything in their defensive armoury to shut down one of the most potent attacking sides in the competition.

Brumbies v Lions | Friday 12 May | GIO Stadium | 11:45

To Win (80 Mins)

Brumbies 2/1 | Draw 25/1 | Lions 1/3
Brumbies (+7.5) 9/10 | Lions (-7.5) 9/10 

A soul-sucking 12-18 loss to the Blues proceeded the Brumbies’ bye last week, in an encounter that offered them the opportunity to claim their first Kiwi scalp in 2017. Alas, their performance was blighted by a serious lack of intensity on defence, in a physical display that resembled something closer to that of an age-group level side than Australia’s Super Rugby Conference trend-setters. So far, the results of this year’s edition only serve to support the claim that “less is better”, and that Australia’s challenge will be all the stronger when one of their franchises is booted next year. The quality in the remaining sides will only increase as a result.

Without doubt, Larkham’s coaching staff would have taken a long, hard look at the Brumbies’ poor defensive showings of late, and much time and emphasis would have been placed in this department during their bye-week. With the quality of attacking talent at the Lions’ disposal, even the slightest hiccup in the Aussie’s defensive line may lead to five-points this week, and aggression and physicality at the contact point will be key come Friday.

The Brumbies will look towards the likes of Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight to break the gain-line off of potential counter-attacking situations, but there is very little to suggest that the men from Canberra will be able to maintain scoreboard pressure over the full course of the eighty.

The Lions continue to be the standard-bearers for South African rugby, with their strength and solidity in all parts of their game putting them country miles ahead of their local rivals. This encounter will be the last of their overseas tour, and they will be fiercely determined to end it with three wins from three after putting away the Force and Rebels in successive weeks.

Johan Ackerman’s men are runway South African Conference leaders, and a play-off berth should be all but a formality for them from here on out. With that being said, the Lions will need to remain as humble as possible, as their “easier” draw in 2017 sees them avoid all Kiwi sides during the round-robin stages of the competition. They travel to Canberra to tackle the Brumbies on Friday, and Warren Whiteley will be supremely confident that they have what it takes to dispatch them ahead of their Gauteng derby with the Bulls back home.

"With the Sale-bound Faf de Klerk (set to leave at the end of the season for the sake of earning R7-million a year) still out injured, Ross Cronje once again steps into the breach. Expect many sniping runs from the no. 9 in this one, as he looks to give Lieutenant Elton Jantjies and his fellow back-liners the perfect platform to run the Brumbies ragged."

Verdict: Lions 1/3
This current Brumbies set-up does not have the necessities required to put one over a red-hot Lions team, striving for a 100% overseas record. Their tackling will surely have improved from their last outing, but it still won’t be enough to hault Courtnall Skosan and co. from securing more than a few five-pointers along the way.

Written by Shaun Goosen for!

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