Brumbies won’t break stride with Mann-Rea
INJURED Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore has seen his replacement, Josh Mann-Rea, do some freakish things on the field ... including kicking some match-winning goals.
Mann-Rea was also sound in defence for the ACT against the Western Force last Friday, making 14 tackles in the 47-25 victory.
The Brumbies will be looking for a repeat performance in the qualifying final against the Chiefs at GIO Stadium tonight.
Moore played junior football in Brisbane against Mann-Rea and recalled it wasn't just his solid defence and bullocking runs that made him a stand-out.
"He was at Nudgee and I was at Brisbane Grammar, and I remember one day he kicked the winning goal against us ... he was a great goal kicker," Moore told APN.
Noosa's Mann-Rea was "also very big in Japan", where he played for Top League club Kyuden Voltex before finally breaking into the Super Rugby ranks at the Waratahs, aged 31, in 2012.
More importantly though, Moore said his replacement in the No.2 jersey will not let anyone down in the basics of attack, defence and the set pieces, against the Brumbies' conquerors from last year's Super Rugby final.
"Josh is 33 and he's been around Super Rugby teams for three years now. He knows what to do and nothing seems to fluster him," Moore said.
Like it was in the 2013 final, which the Brumbies lost to the Chiefs 27-22, Moore believes the last 20 minutes of tonight's game will be crucial.
The Brumbies were ahead 22-12 early in the second half of that 2013 decider. But the Chiefs scored two tries and kicked a penalty goal to take the lead 27-22, with seven minutes remaining.
"We've spoken all year about how important that last 20 minutes is," Moore said. "We've got a strong bench for this game and in the final 20 minutes that's really important."
The Brumbies avenged last year's final defeat with a 41-23 win in April, but the Chiefs were without playmaker and All Blacks star Aaron Cruden for that game.
"He's so important for them, and if we don't shut him down then we're in for a long night," Moore said.
BRUMBIES V CHIEFS
GIO Stadium, 7pm