Brumbies front rowers Stephen Moore and Scott Sio will return for their grudge clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane this Friday.
The Brumbies’ hopes of delivering the Queensland Reds their first back-to-back home defeats since 2009 have been boosted by the returns of Wallabies front-rowers Stephen Moore and Scott Sio.
The 11th-placed Reds admit they’re desperate after last week’s Super Rugby home loss to the Western Force, and grudge rivals the Brumbies are champing at the bit to deliver them their second straight defeat at their Suncorp Stadium fortress this Friday.
It would be sweet revenge for the conference-leading ACT franchise, who were knocked off by the Reds 27-17 in their season opener in Canberra earlier this year.
Back in the fold for the Brumbies will be 91-Test hooker Moore, who’s returned from a one-week knee complaint, while Wallabies loosehead Scott Sio has recovered from an ankle injury following three weeks on the sidelines.
It’s a huge injection for the depleted ACT pack, which is already missing backrowers David Pocock and Fotu Auelua, as well as locks Sam Carter and Leon Power all to varying knee injuries.
“They’re clearly pretty desperate after their loss, they’ve said openly their season is on the line,” Moore said.
“So it’s going to take nothing less than our best to win.”
Sio’s earlier than expected return will not only further bolster the Brumbies’ scrum, but give him a chance to show his worth against rival Wallabies loosehead James Slipper.
“I guess there’s always that there,” Sio, 22, said.
“But at the end of the day I’m coming here to do my best for the Brumbies.
“If I cross paths with him on the field, then I do, but by no means will I be looking for him out there.”
The Reds haven’t suffered back-to-back losses at Suncorp Stadium in the same season since the final round of 2009, just before former Reds and now Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie took over and ignited the charge towards the team’s 2011 Super Rugby title.
They’ll have more than just pride and records to play for, however, as the club’s boss Jim Carmichael earlier this week put the players on notice by saying the romance was over with the 2011 squad.
Slipper on Tuesday said despite the squad’s current lull, he believed their best rugby was still to come.
“We don’t want to keep living on the 2011 high,” he said.
“We want to look past that, we want to gain more memories.
“We’re only just (two points) out of the top six. We’ll be looking to not only stay with them, but stringing some wins together.”