Brumbies back rower Jordan Smiler. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong Photo: Sitthixay DitthavongACT Brumbies back-rower Jordan Smiler has warned of a Port Elizabeth ambush as the Southern Kings fight for their Super Rugby existence on Sunday morning Australian time.
South Africa will cut two of its six teams in a radical Super Rugby overhaul at the end of the season and the Kings are on the chopping block with the Free State Cheetahs.
Australian rugby faces similar uncertainty and the ARU has battling on off-field crisis after the Rugby Union Players Association backed the Victorian Rugby Union’s call for a special general meeting next week.
The Brumbies have been moved into a safe zone but the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels are in danger of being jettisoned.
The Brumbies are the top-ranked Australian team this season despite winning just three of 10 games.
In contrast, the Kings are at the bottom of their ‘Africa two’ conference but have won more games than the Brumbies. The Kings have already beaten the Force, Rebels and NSW Waratahs this year.
Smiler said the Brumbies must prepare to play against a determined Kings side as both teams desperately chase a win for different reasons.
“I think the most dangerous thing about [the Kings] is that they’ve got nothing to lose,” Smiler said in Port Elizabeth.
“They [could] be knocked out of the competition and these guys are playing for their livelihoods to support their families.
“When you come up with a team like that with nothing to lose, they play with no fear and that is always a dangerous thing to come up against because they’ll enjoy their rugby.
“We’re on the flipside, we need a good couple of wins while we’re away so we have to try to take that away from them if we can.”
The Brumbies will start a two game tour around the world with a clash against the Kings.
Coach Stephen Larkham is set to recall flanker Chris Alcock while Tom Banks is the likely man to replace James Dargaville, who did not travel to South Africa.
The Kings have been buoyed with four players being called into a Springbok training camp next week, including former Brumbies flyhalf Lionel Cronje.
Cronje spent two years in Canberra after being recruited by former South African World Cup-winning coach Jake White.
But the Brumbies have their own international motivation as Wallabies selection goes on the line in the next three games.
Scrumhalf Joe Powell, captain Sam Carter, winger Henry Speight, flanker Scott Fardy, outside centre Tevita Kuridrani and prop Allan Alaalatoa are all trying to win Test spots for Australia’s mid-year three-game series.
But the trip to South Africa takes on a different meaning for back up Brumbies scrumhalf De Wet Roos, who is returning to his country of birth for the first time as a Super Rugby player.
Roos, 26, was in South Africa earlier this year when he first heard the Brumbies might be looking for another No. 9 after Tomas Cubelli suffered a serious knee injury.
With Cubelli set to make his comeback for the last two games of the season in July, Roos is soaking up his remaining chances.
“Playing [Super Rugby in South Africa] was always a dream, but I probably thought it would never happen,” Roos said.
“It’s pretty good being back in the motherland where I come from and having my family here will be pretty special.
“I think there’s about 15 [family] travelling down to come and watch us, so it will be good to have a little bit of a support crew.”
The Brumbies have lost their past four games in a row and a loss against the Kings would equal the club’s worst losing streak in Super Rugby history.
SUPER RUGBY ROUND 13
Sunday: Southern Kings v ACT Brumbies at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 3.30am (AEST). TV time: Live on Fox Sports 1.
Brumbies team: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Aidan Toua, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Jordan Smiler, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Ben Alexander. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Nic Mayhew, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Blake Enever, 20. Jarrad Butler, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Andrew Muirhead, 23. Andrew Smith.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.