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Brumbie’s eye for a bonus point boost against embattled Tahs

Brumbie’s eye for a bonus point boost against embattled Tahs

The ACT Brumbies are looking to pile on their tries against the embattled NSW Waratahs, with every bonus point key in their quest for a top-two Super Rugby Pacific finish.

The Brumbies have a lot of work to do to catch the second-placed Blues, who are six points above them with four regular season rounds remaining.

But with the Blues playing the leading Hurricanes on Saturday, Stephen Larkham’s players will be keen to close the gap on the top two and a place in the home semi-final.

“We are very aware that we need bonus points to get where we want to get at the end of the season,” the Brumbies coach told reporters on Thursday.

Second from bottom, the Waratahs will be determined to upset their local rivals, with a finals place of their own still not out of the question.

The Brumbies have refreshed their squad to take on the Tahs, with Jack Debreczeni named in the number 10 jersey for the first time this year, but insist they will not take their opponents lightly.

“We know how important this match is for both teams,” Larkham said.

“There is always a lot of emotion at the start of these games… and we are also conscious of not burning too much energy throughout the week.

“There are still a lot of people who are quite dangerous with ball in hand.

“The situation they’re in, in terms of where they are on the ladder and what the last four games mean for them, we just expect a lot of physicality.”

Prop James Slipper will start on the bench for the Brumbies after battling a nagging back injury against Fijian Drua last time out.

In an added boost for the Larkham side, winger Ben O’Donnell has been named on the bench as he makes his long-awaited return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“It’s been a long journey for Ben,” the coach said.

“His rugby IQ is fantastic, his skills are very versatile and we expect him to add a lot of confidence to the team and the players around him.”