Brumbies prepare for intense battle v NSW

They wowed with some eye-catching rugby in their Super season opener, but the Brumbies know that alone won’t cut it against a similarly stylish NSW Waratahs outfit.

Convincing round one wins at the weekend has set up a blockbuster at GIO Stadium on Friday between the arch-rivals.

While the Waratahs looked good against the Reds, the Brumbies impressed on a different level in their seven-try-to-one routing of last year’s finalists the Hurricanes.

Their high-speed attacking game, full of trick moves and slick plays, was exactly what coach Stephen Larkham had been working on during the pre-season.

“Everyone was really pleased with being able to execute the game-plan that we wanted to and to play really expansive, fun footy,” backrower Jarrad Butler said on Monday.

“I think people could sense it out there that we were really enjoying ourselves and hopefully we can continue that on.”

But their defensive effort will need to be just as strong if they are a chance of beating the Waratahs for the first time in almost two years.

The Brumbies’ last victory against the `Tahs was at home in March 2014, when they won 28-23.

They’ve lost the four games since.

Centre Andrew Smith said coach Daryl Gibson had a team full of gamebreakers, all of whom looked sharp and applied plenty of pressure on the Reds.

And he expects another high-intensity game this week.

“We’ve got pretty similar styles; both very physical in defence and our game-plans are quite attacking as well,” said Smith, who returned to Canberra this year after a stint in France.

“I think both teams will probably try and throw the ball around and defensive pressure will probably be key again this week.”

Despite winning by such a substantial margin, which earned them a bonus point, the Brumbies made more tackles than the Hurricanes but conceded fewer turnovers.

They also had two players – Matt Toomua and David Pocock – sinbinned for ruck infringements.

“We’re happy with the way we went but we need to continually improve and fine-tune some of our game,” added Smith.

Friday’s clash will pit two of Australia’s premier flankers against each other, with Pocock and Wallabies back-row partner Michael Hooper facing off.

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