Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua will consider changing call plays against the Western Force on Friday night. Photo: Quinn RooneyThe ACT Brumbies are preparing to outwit the Western Force and will consider changing their plays to prevent former players Zach Holmes and Ian Prior from using inside information to their advantage.
The Brumbies won’t be taking the Force lightly as they aim to extend their perfect record against Australian teams at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
The Force knocked off the Brumbies 31-21 in a trial game in January, with Holmes and Prior identifying the Brumbies’ plays to help nullify their attack.
Both players spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Brumbies before making the move to the Force last year in search of greater opportunities.
Holmes has established himself in the No.10 jersey for the Force, while Prior is coming off the bench at scrumhalf.
Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua kept a bit of mystery with his team’s tactics, suggesting they could switch things up to keep his former teammates on their toes.
“We’ve heard them call out plays out there during the trial matches, so we might change calls or we might double bluff them and keep them the same, we’ll see,” Toomua said.
“We called a couple plays and they knew exactly what was going on.
“(Holmes) knows my game quite well, I know his game quite well.
“You do a lot of review on every guy every week, but having that inside knowledge with a guy like Zach helps, but I’m sure he says the same thing about me.”
The Brumbies are leading the Australian conference, a two-point loss to the Waikato Chiefs a fortnight ago their only blemish.
They are coming off a gritty 20-15 win on the road against the Melbourne Rebels, while the Force slipped to 1-2 after being thrashed 42-13 by the Wellington Hurricanes.
It is the Brumbies’ second of four straight games against teams from the Australian conference leading into their first bye.
They take on the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next weekend before facing defending champions, the NSW Waratahs, in Sydney.
“It’s massive,” Toomua said.
“You top your conference you go into the finals, so any local derbies are always big ones.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead, but we know we’ve got three to go then we’re on a break.
“Four points you get is four points you take off them, which is important in the conference, it’s much more than just a normal game.”
The Force will welcome back Wallabies winger Nick Cummins for his first game of the season after recovering from ankle surgery.
Openside flanker Chris Alcock is also likely to return, blindside flanker Gus Cottrell is in doubt with an ankle injury and captain Matt Hodgson is still a few weeks away with a hamstring injury.
Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman said the Force was renowned for its tough play in the forwards.
“They can really get you caught in that grindy style of rugby and they’ve had a really good start to the season,” Coleman said.
“They can force you into a sloppy game, so we want to play our style no matter how they’re doing it.
“It’s a huge game for us and we want to put in a good performance.”
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