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Brumbies looking to shut down Tupou in Super Rugby's top of the table clash

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Still stinging after being shifted to the wrong side of Australian rugby’s newest rivalry, Allan Alaalatoa has singled out rival prop Taniela Tupou as the Brumbies prepare to host the Queensland Reds on Friday.

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The Wallabies teammates split minutes last season with success but will go head-to-head for Super Rugby Pacific’s only two remaining unbeaten sides in Canberra.

The Brumbies beat the Reds to claim domestic honours in 2020 but the Reds reversed that result in an after-the-siren win in front of a delirious Suncorp Stadium crowd last season.

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That was one of three tense games between the sides in 2021 that have forged a genuine rivalry between the teams that feature players competing for Test caps.

“It’s been built over the last couple of years … we’ve got some of the best players going head to head so I think that’s awesome,” Brumbies captain Alaalatoa said.

“When you get the chance to think about it it still hurts a little bit (the Super Rugby AU final loss).

“We’ve got to nail our detail, channel that emotion and make sure we’re 100 per cent clear on what we’re going to do.”

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With Tate McDermott among a host of key men missing due to injury and Liam Wright back via the bench from his own shoulder dramas, Alaalatoa expects Tupou to step up for the Reds.

“He’s their powerhouse; someone that when he wants to turn it on, can really put pressure on,” he said.

“They’ll probably look to Nella to drive them so we need to do everything we can to stop him and guys like Harry Wilson and Jordy Petaia, just to name a few.”

Petaia has plenty to prove too after retaining his spot at fullback following last week’s experimental debut in the No.15 went well.

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He’ll be tested by rival fullback and Wallabies front-runner Tom Banks, while the kicking game of halves Nic White and Noah Lolesio will also keep Petaia busy.

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