Can The Reds Win Their First In Seven Games Against The Reds?

The Brumbies hosts the Reds in its round 5 Super Rugby AU clash at the GIO Stadium today 11:15 SA time. The Brumbies come off an impressive win over the Force (24-0) last weekend and are currently first on the Super Rugby AU competition log and is still unbeaten. The Reds are currently second on the Super Rugby AU competition log and is still unbeaten in the 2021 Super Rugby AU competition after they won two and drew one.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made just the one change to the starting XV for the top of the table clash against the Queensland Reds. 

Lock Darcy Swain returns to the side after missing the 24-0 win over the Western Force and will partner Nick Frost for the first time in the starting second row.

Wallabies stars Scott Sio, Folau Fainga'a and skipper Allan Alaalatoa will again set the standard in the set-piece from the front row.

Youngster Rob Valetini, Will Miller and Pete Samu combine for the second straight week as loose forwards with Joe Powell and Bayley Kuenzle lining up the halves.

Last weekend's man of the match Irae Simone will look to continue his fine form at inside centre. Test star Tevita Kuridrani to play outside him in his 129th match for the club.

Tom Wright will again get a chance to impress on the wing, with the damaging Solomone Kata and ever-reliable Tom Banks making up the back three.

After a solid 25 minutes last week, Connal McInerney is again the replacement hooker, with James Slipper and Tom Ross the other front-row replacements.

Vice-captain Tom Cusack returns to the side and will be helped out by Lachlan McCaffrey to cover the loose forwards.

Speedster Issak Fines will be the number nine replacement, with Mack Hansen and proud Indigenous man Andy Muirhead finalising the matchday 23.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: "We're excited to get another opportunity to play in front of our supporters this week in Canberra and take on the Reds who have had a good start to the new competition."

"We've had a solid week of preparation and the whole team is up for what's going to be a big challenge on Saturday night.

"It's also going to be a special occasion to be able to wear our first ever Indigenous jersey and I know the players are proud to be a part of that."

Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Bayley Kuenzle, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. James Slipper, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Cusack, 20. Lachlan McCaffrey, 21. Issak Fines, 22. Mack Hansen, 23. Andy Muirhead.

The Reds will welcome back strike weapons Jordan Petaia and Feao Fotuaika for their top-of-the-table clash against the Brumbies on Saturday.

Petaia will make his much-anticipated return from a dislocated shoulder suffered in Buenos Aires five months ago, while Fotuaika ironically makes his comeback from a foot injury he aggravated in Round 1 against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium back in January this year.

Dane Zander will start at loosehead prop with Harry Hoopert set to be sidelined for another four-to-five weeks with an MCL injury suffered against the Force in Round 3.

Angus Blyth has overcome a shoulder injury and re-takes his place in the second-row alongside Lukhan Salakaia-Loto. 

It sees a reshuffle to the second row as Angus Scott-Young shifts from lock to blindside flanker and captain Liam Wright will wear his familiar number-seven jersey again.

There’s just one change to the backline with Scott Malolua earning his third start of 2020 and first in Vodafone Super Rugby AU at scrumhalf.

Malolua’s elevation means Tate McDermott will provide impact off the bench as a finisher alongside Fraser McReight, plus Petaia and Fotuaika.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The Brumbies in Canberra is always a tough game. They’re in strong form and we look forward to a tough contest. 

“It’s exciting to have Jordan and Feao back in the team. They’ve been out since the start of the year and have worked hard to get back in shape. They’re two quality players and we can’t wait to see them out there on Saturday night. 

“We’ve also got Angus Blyth back and then there’s fellow lock Ryan Smith who could make his Queensland debut off the bench which is exciting too,” said Thorn.

Queensland Reds: 1. Dane Zander, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Scott Malolua, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15. Jock Campbell. Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Feao Fotuaika 18. Jack Straker, 19. Ryan Smith, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Jordan Petaia.

Opta Facts

The Brumbies have won eight of their last 11 Super Rugby games against the Reds, including their last two on the bounce; in fact, they have won their last six home games on the bounce against the Queensland club.

The Brumbies have won their last eight Super Rugby games against fellow Australian opponents, twice as many as they had won in their 13 national derbies prior.

The Reds have won only two of their last 19 Super Rugby games away from home and will be looking for their first triumph on the road since Round 10, 2019 against the Sharks.

The Brumbies have made the most clean breaks (9.7) and beaten the most defenders (29) per game of any team in Super Rugby AU, as well as having conceded the fewest clean breaks (2.7) and missing the fewest tackles (11).

Fraser McReight (Reds) has won six turnovers thus far in Super Rugby AU, more than any other player in the competition; he is also yet to miss a tackle from 29 attempts thus far.