Super Rugby
Brumbies' cavalry back against Force
July 7, 2014
The Brumbies' Matt Toomua scores a try, Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels, Super Rugby, GIO Stadium, May 31, 2014
Matt Toomua is one of four Test stars set to bolster the Brumbies © Getty Images

The Brumbies' cavalry are back, and just in time for "finals" footy. Four Test players and an actual squad-listed hooker are set to bolster the Brumbies' starting line-up for Friday's do-or-die clash against the Western Force.

Wallabies Matt Toomua (groin), Pat McCabe (shoulder), Joe Tomane (cheekbone) and Sam Carter (ankle) are all tipped to return after missing the Brumbies' embarrassing last-start 39-8 loss to the NSW Waratahs two weekends ago.

Just as important, however, will be the inclusion of third string rake Josh Mann-Rea (hamstring), as the Brumbies had to rely on prop Ruadhri Murphy in his absence following Stephen Moore's season ending injury.

The weekend's rest has also helped Tevita Kuridrani (head knock) and Scott Fardy (knee) recover from injuries they picked up against the Tahs.

"It's looking positive. We've certainly got more faces back," Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said. "Missing four or five players is certainly disruptive for us. Against the Waratahs our set-piece didn't operate as well as we would have liked and that's a foundation stone of our game."

Despite it being a last round fixture, the Brumbies are approaching the clash against the Force as a final. With the Brumbies placed sixth and the Force seventh, the winner could secure a home qualifying final, while the loser could be knocked out of the competition altogether.

"It's certainly a finals game for us. So that should sharpen the mind," Fisher said.

However the final round match has been a bogey for the Brumbies in past seasons, with the side not tasting success in the fixture since 2007. More recently, the Blues stung them two years ago to deny them a finals spot, while the Force tripped them up last year to rob them of a top two finish.

However Fisher says the playing group has avoided talking about those two matches. "History won't help us," he said.

The match will also be departing skipper Ben Mowen's 49th game as Brumbies captain - which will equal the club record of George Gregan.

"I don't think you'd say he's the most gifted player out there, but I don't think you'll find a harder working or better organised player," Fisher said.

Meanwhile, Brumbies backrow enforcer Fotu Auelua announced on Monday he had re-signed with the club until the end of 2015.

"He's had a really disrupted season. But when he's at his best he's a hugely damaging player," Fisher said.


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