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How the Brumbies are preparing for 'dangerous' Drua

By AAP
Ben O'Donnell with ball in hand for the Brumbies. Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

Fresh from a famous thumping of a long-time rival, the winning machine that is the Brumbies turn their attention to a plucky Fijian Drua outfit.

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Coach Stephen Larkham admitted the Brumbies’ song after their 52-24 thrashing of Queensland was the loudest he’d ever heard it, their most comprehensive win of an increasingly impressive season that sees them sit at 6-1.

With minor tweaks to their starting line-up, they’ll enter Friday night’s clash with the Drua as warm favourites, despite the Fijian’s impressive form that’s seen them upset Melbourne and the Crusaders this year.

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Larkham heralded the “momentous” win for his side, highlighted by strong late form that brought three tries in the last 20 minutes.

“It was very enjoyable, it was probably the loudest song I’ve been a part of, there was a lot of passion out there on the field,” he said.

“It ended that way and we got a good score at the end but it was a tight tussle up until the 60th minute where it could have gone either way and we’ve had a few of those this year.

“That’s certainly a momentous result for the boys, particularly with some of the close losses they’ve had up there over the last couple of years.

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“It was good to play that way, but in saying that we came out of that game and we knew there’s still a little bit of work to do.”

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Seventeen-cap Wallaby Darcy Swain joins the side for his first start this season where he’ll commence his push for a World Cup berth, partnering 29-year-old Super Rugby Pacific debutant Sam Thomson in the second row.

Halfback Ryan Lonergan will also start in place of the benched Nic White, with Ben O’Donnell replacing Corey Toole on a wing as he recovers from a brutal head knock he took from Reds’ Angus Blyth.

The Drua enter off a bye and stunned the Melbourne Rebels in a 38-28 result last time out, a performance that left Larkham wary.

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“They obviously like a scrappy game as well, they’re very dangerous with the unstructured play and we’ve prepped for that,” he said.

“We certainly want to make sure we’re matching it in that area with them when they want to throw the ball wide, we need to be comfortable in those wider spaces defending that.

“Equally if they do turn the ball over then we need to be comfortable taking the opportunities from there as well.

“A lot of their linebreaks have actually come in the last 20 minutes when teams are either knocking off or starting to feel the fatigue a bit.”

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