Berliner Tageblatt - Brumbies eye revenge against Chiefs as Super Rugby hits Melbourne

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Brumbies eye revenge against Chiefs as Super Rugby hits Melbourne
Brumbies eye revenge against Chiefs as Super Rugby hits Melbourne / Photo: © AFP

Brumbies eye revenge against Chiefs as Super Rugby hits Melbourne

ACT Brumbies are looking for a statement win over the powerhouse Waikato Chiefs as Super Rugby descends on Melbourne this weekend, while the Canterbury Crusaders attempt to get their season back on track.

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Stephen Larkham's Canberra-based side belted the Melbourne Rebels 30-3 to open their campaign last weekend and victory over the Chiefs -- who beat them in last year's semi-finals -- would exact revenge and send a message of intent.

"We haven't talked about (the semi-final loss) too much, but it's always playing on everyone's minds," admitted Brumbies hooker Lachlan Lonergan ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash.

"We're keen to (play) them, they're a good team, so everyone's pretty excited.

"Losing to them in the semi-finals, it would be good to get one up on them early on in the season."

The Chiefs upset the defending champions Crusaders 33-29 in the opening round to lay down a marker and are boosted by All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie declaring himself fit from a rib injury.

"We know what we are coming up against this weekend with the Brumbies, one of the best teams in the competition," said Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan

"They have a clear understanding of where their strengths lie and play to them.

- 'Hard to contain' -

"They're hard to contain when they get their game going. We expect contestable kicks, and they have some speed on the edges."

All six matches this weekend are being played at Melbourne's AAMI Park in the so-called 'super round', with the new-look Crusaders aiming to bounce back against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

The 'Tahs are also looking to get off the mark after slumping 40-22 to the Queensland Reds in round one.

They are sweating on the fitness of dynamic Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, who complained of hamstring soreness after training this week.

"He is having scans and receiving treatment, and we will give him until later in the week to prove his fitness," said NSW coach Darren Coleman.

They are already without fellow Wallabies Lalakai Foketi (neck) and Izaia Perese (concussion).

In other games, the Reds are gunning for their first back-to-back wins since April last year, but have their hands full on Sunday against the Wellington Hurricanes, who have beaten them in their last seven encounters.

Moana Pasifika face Fijian Drua on Saturday while the Melbourne Rebels -- who entered voluntary administration in January -- meet Western Force on Friday.

They take the field after the Auckland Blues and Otago Highlanders kick off the weekend action.

Both sides clocked bonus point wins in their openers over Drua and Moana respectively with the Blues welcoming back a slew of heavy hitters, including the All Black pair of Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Akira Ioane.