Super Rugby
Brumbies focus on forwards to stifle Israel Folau
March 11, 2014
The Brumbies know where rugby games are won © Getty Images

The Brumbies might be outnumbered two to one by their grudge rivals in forwards with Test experience, but they will launch an all-out assault up front against New South Wales Waratahs in a bid to stifle the influence of Israel Folau.

Fifteen Test forwards and 13 Wallabies backs will be on the pitch in a fixture that will see the winners top the Australian Super Rugby conference, but Brumbies forwards Scott Fardy and Ben Alexander have little doubt where the match in Canberra on Saturday will be won.

The Waratahs' Israel Folau celebrates his third try, New South Wales Waratahs v Western Force, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, February 23, 2014
Israel Folau has scored five tries in just two Super Rugby matches this season © Getty Images

"[Backs] might think they win the games but it's always won at the breakdown and the set piece," Fardy said. "That's definitely where this will be decided."

The Waratahs forwards feature 10 players with international experience, including an all-Wallabies back-row of Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu and Dave Dennis with South Africa international Jacques Potgieter and Wallabies lock Kane Douglas in the second row. Just to top it off, they have four Wallabies front-rowers, as well as comeback king Stephen Hoiles on the bench. The Brumbies pack, on the other hand, boasts just five forwards with Test experience after David Pocock last week was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Test prop Alexander accepts the Brumbies have their hands full against the undefeated Waratahs, who have also had the luxury of a bye in the lead-up.

"The first two games they've played, the work rate of their pack has been outstanding," Alexander said.

But he believes the Brumbies will limit the damage of Folau if they can get on top of the Tahs up front. Folau has scored five tries in the Waratahs' first two games this season, but Alexander said the fullback and "the guys out wide won't get the ball if you do a job on their forwards".

"You try and stifle their attack, and the ball never gets to blokes out wide. We've just got to focus on doing a job at the coal face."

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