Super Rugby: Brumbies face Western Force in Canberra
Last Updated: 11/07/14 7:17am
The Brumbies face Western Force in an Australian derby in Canberra on Friday with the winners assured of a place in the Super Rugby play-offs.
The hosts go into the clash tied on 40 points with the men from Perth, who are seeking to make the play-offs for the first time in their history.
Brumbies scrum-half Nic White will make his 50th appearance in the clash, but he is simply aiming to help his side earn a home final for the second year straight.
"It became pretty simple when the Force beat the Reds last weekend, it became clear that we had to win - that was the objective," he told the Brumbies' official website.
"It's as simple as win you go through - lose and you probably don't. The Force has got the hunger of a team that have never been in a Finals-series before so it's up to us to match that and go up again."
He added: "It's a pretty big game this weekend, to be honest I haven't thought too much about my 50th just about the Force and about doing my job.
"It's all about getting the win this weekend. Not looking too far ahead. At the start of the year every side says they want to make the finals so if we win one more game we'll be there and can tick that off the list.
"We've got a job to do. We have to win this weekend to give ourselves a chance in the finals. We can think finals next week but there'll be no point if we can't knock over the Force on Friday."
Meanwhile, Western Force prop Pek Cowan believes his team can reach the play-offs but only if they don't get ahead of themselves this weekend.
He said: "It's massive.
"If we start looking at the bigger picture before we win this game, it'll be a huge mistake.
"We're definitely looking forward to the opportunity, the fairytale is very far from being complete and if we win there's still plenty of work to be done."
He added: "The main thing is just to keep our heads (on Friday) and not to let the occasion get to us. Just to respond when things get tough out on the field.
"We've had games where we've come close (at Canberra Stadium), where we've won and where we've struggled down there.
"We've definitely got the capacity to win away from home which has given us a lot of confidence."
The Brumbies have called in the cavalry with six highly-experienced players returning for Friday's do-or-die match with the Force.
Pat McCabe, Matt Toomua, Tom McVerry, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter and Joe Tomane have all been included in the match-day 23 as the Brumbies chase a spot in the competition's top six.
Nic White will line up for his 50th cap with the Brumbies while Ben Mowen equals George Gregan's record 49 caps as captain.
At the ripe old age of 33 Mann-Rea has earned his debut start at hooker, with Ruaidhri Murphy included on the bench and Luke Holmes shifting out of the match-day 23.
Sam Carter will partner Leon Power at lock shifting Scott Fardy to blind-side flanker, with McVerry partnering Fotu Auelua on the bench as back up loose forwards.
Tomane and McCabe will also be used as impact players from the bench after recovering from facial and shoulder injuries, respectively.
Brumbies: 15 Mogg, 14 Speight, 13 Kuridrani, 12 Lealiifano, 11 Rathbone, 10 Toomua, 9 White; 1 Sio, 2 Mann- Rea, 3 Alexander, 4 Carter, 5 Power, 6 Fardy, 7 Butler, 8 Mowen (c).
Replacements: 16 Murphy, 17 R Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Auelua, 20 McVerry, 21 Dowsett, 22 Tomane, 23 McCabe.
Force: 15 Hayward, 14 Haylett-Petty, 13 Rasolea, 12 Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Cummins, 10 Holmes, 9 Prior; 1 Cowan, 2 Charles, 3 Longbottom, 4 Wykes, 5 Steenkamp, 6 Stander, 7 Hodgson (c), 8 McCalman.
Replacements: 16 Tessmann, 17 Faulkner, 18 Hoskins, 19 Coleman, 20 Alcock, 21 Mathewson, 22 Burton, 23 Leyds/Ebersohn.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 19
Waratahs capped a table-topping season with a comfortable 34-3 victory over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Crusaders cruised to a 34-8 victory over the Highlanders in Christchurch as they clinched a home semi-final spot.
Matt Toomua notched a hat-trick of tries as the Brumbies beat the Western Force 47-25 to make the Super Rugby play-offs.