The Brumbies humbled the Waratahs 47-14 in the very last match before the 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended because of coronavirus.
“You can’t erase it. It’s all there in the history books but I’d like to think we’ll be advanced from where we were last time,” said Waratahs coach Rob Penney.
Not only have the Tahs had four months to stew over the shellacking, but Penney will field his most experienced line-up of the season in search of back-to-back wins for the first time in 2020.
With five Wallabies in the NSW pack, Brumbies captain Alan Alaalatoa said it would be foolish to think the return bout will be as lopsided.
“Obviously there’s been a rivalry for years. It’s always a grudge match when you play the Waratahs and definitely when you play them up in Sydney is always a hard battle,” Alaalatoa said on Friday.
“To play them at ANZ is going to be huge. We know they’re going to be up for this game, same with us. It’s always a different preparation when you playing against the Waratahs.
“But the feeling we have is just excitement.”
Having a bye immediately after their 31-23 triumph over Melbourne Rebels in the opening round of the new domestic competition wasn’t ideal for the Brumbies.
But it gave the ACT outfit time to address some scrum issues exposed by the Rebels, who dominated the set piece in Canberra.
The Waratahs, with an all-Sydney Uni front row of Tom Robertson, back after four months out with a back injury, teaming up with debutant hooker Tom Horton and Test prop Harry Johnson-Holmes.
“We’ve had a big focus around our set piece. It obviously wasn’t up to scratch in round one and we got really tested against the Rebels and we definitely know our set piece is going to be tested again tomorrow,” Alaalatoa said.
“They’ve got a quality front row, both Wallaby props, and the front row that normally starts for them is coming off the bench.
“So for the full 80 tomorrow is going to be a great contest up front and something we’ve definitely spoken about in the forwards.”
– Darren Walton
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