The Brumbies are bracing for the battling Waratahs to return to form in Sunday’s Super Rugby match – the last before Australian fans are locked out due to the coronavirus.

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Ahead of their Sunday afternoon derby clash at GIO Stadium, Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says the fierce interstate rivalry between the sides will ensure the teams are at their best.

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The conference-leading Brumbies have only lost once in five matches while the Waratahs have only had one win, but McKellar predicted a tight contest.

“The Tahs and Brumbies don’t really like each other,”¬†McKellar said.

“They’ll be up for it, they have to be, and we’ll be up for it as well.

“It’s a stand-alone game, you don’t worry about form in these games, it’s like the old interstate matches.

“The boys have trained really well and you can tell there’s a edge about them.”

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McKellar believed the Waratahs had “shown glimpses” of what they could do in recent matches.

“They were very good against the Lions and at half-time on the weekend they were in a really good position,” he said.

“The Chiefs are just one of those teams they can put three tries on you quickly and they did that.”

The Brumbies will be without prop Scott Sio, who will undergo hand surgery, with fellow Wallabies prop James Slipper in the starting line-up.

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“He just got a whack on it making a tackle and played on for a good while but it’s one of those injuries you could potentially keep playing with but we took the conservative approach,” McKellar said of Sio.

Waratahs lock Tom Staniforth said his struggling team were up for the challenge.

“I think through history both sides have been in and out of form and his game is always close and always tough,” Staniforth said.

“Brumbies-Tahs match, it doesn’t matter what the stakes are and where we are on the ladder or what’s going on, it’s a Brumbies-Tahs match and it’s always close and it’s always tough.

“I wouldn’t be reading too much into that.”

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