‘Brumbies DNA’: Larkham’s call to match rampant Reds

Alex Mitchell |

A return to the starting XV for Lachie Lonergan will boost the Brumbies for the trip to Queensland.
A return to the starting XV for Lachie Lonergan will boost the Brumbies for the trip to Queensland.

The ACT Brumbies are ready to trade blows with the Queensland Reds in what shapes as an Australian contender for Super Rugby Pacific match of the year.

The third-ranked Brumbies travel to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, where they’ll face a fifth-placed Reds outfit reeling from their shock loss to the Western Force last weekend.

The usually reserved Larkham didn’t shy away from the challenge of battling the competition’s highest-scoring side, suggesting Wallabies jumpers would be on the line in the clash between Australia’s two leading sides.

“There’s been plenty of media speculation around where the Wallabies team should come from,” he said.

“Which Super Rugby franchise should have the biggest makeup of Wallabies players.

“When we look at the game this weekend, we’ve certainly got some challenges – one-on-one, positional groups, but also just the challenge of putting a really good performance together.”

Larkham challenged his troops to match the high-octane rugby the Reds – who have notched 182 points so far – have been producing.

“That’s part of Brumbies DNA, and I’m certainly impressed with the way the Reds have played this year,” he said.

“They’re a team that has scored some really good tries. They look very dangerous in attack, in all aspects of the game.

“The game will naturally evolve that way, and we certainly want to play that way.

“The most important thing for us, particularly when you travel, is to come away with a really good performance.

“Hopefully on the back of that performance, you get the result that you’re after.”

The Brumbies have named an unchanged 23-player squad for the trip north, recalling key front-rowers James Slipper and Lachie Lonergan to the starting side.

They remain without injured outside-back duo Andy Muirhead and Len Ikitau, each sidelined with knee trouble.

In a particularly tantalising back-row battle, Brumbies talents Rob Valetini and Charlie Cale will square off with Reds Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight in a clear race for Wallabies selection.