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Super Rugby preview: Brumbies host Auckland Blues at Canberra Stadium
- Highlanders v Rebels: Teams
- Hurricanes v Bulls: Teams
- Reds v Western Force: Teams
- Lions v Crusaders: Teams
- Cheetahs v Chiefs: Teams
- Stormers v Waratahs: Teams
- Highlanders deny Rebels
- Hurricanes hold off Bulls
- Reds foiled by Western Force
- Chiefs comeback stuns Cheetahs
- Crusaders win away at Lions
The Blues could leapfrog their way into second place on Friday as they travel to the Canberra Stadium to take on the Brumbies as Round 8 of Super Rugby gets underway.
Sir John Kirwan's men cruised to victory over the Highlanders at Eden Park last weekend, with tries from George Moala, Ma'a Nonu and Charles Piutau gifting them a 30-12 triumph.
The Blues recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season - having lost three of their first four outings - and could move second should they manage to complete a hat-trick.
Brumbies lost pace with league leaders the Sharks last weekend, as they slipped to a shock 32-24 reverse at the hands of Melbourne Rebels.
A slovenly 10 minutes cost the Brumbies dear as the Rebels cruised home, with defeat leaving them six points adrift of the Sharks.
Despite their unexpected blip, four wins from their opening six fixtures leaves Brumbies in second, level on points with defending champions Chiefs, while opponents Blues, Lions and the Waratahs are all just one point behind.
The Brumbies have made just one change to their starting side for Friday's clash as Siliva Siliva starts at hooker.
Stephen Moore will miss his first Brumbies game through injury since 2011 after the Wallaby hooker was given a week to recover from a niggling knee concern.
With Siliva moving into the starting side, Josh Mann-Rea comes on to the Brumbies bench in what is an otherwise untouched squad from the one which lost to the Rebels in Melbourne last Friday.
Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said the Blues presented a significant challenge to the Brumbies.
"Like all New Zealand teams the Blues like to play, they've got tremendous attacking potential. They like to throw it around a bit and they can certainly score points," Fisher said.
"But you look at their side this year they've introduced a bit more structure there too which is a point of difference for them.
"They've got some tidy pick and drive, a little bit of mauling so they're a different team to what they've been in the past."
Blues boss Kirwan has made just two changes to the side that overcame the Highlanders last week, with Brendan O'Connor returning for the Blues, while Tevita Li gets a call-up.
Jerome Kaino assumes captaincy duties from the injured Luke Braid, who is replaced by O'Connor at openside flanker.
After featuring heavily against the Highlanders, Jackson Willison has been ruled out with a rib injury, meaning George Moala switches into midfield and livewire Li gets a run on the left flank.
Brumbies: 15 Mogg, 14 Tomane, 13 Kuridrani, 12 McCabe, 11 Coleman, 10 Toomua, 9 White; 1 JP Smith, 2 Siliva, 3 Alexander, 4 Fardy, 5 Carter, 6 Smiler, 7 Butler, 8 Mowen (c).
Replacements: 16 Mann-Rea, 17 R Smith, 18 Murphy, 19 Whetton, 20 McCaffrey, 21 Hoffmann, 22 A Smith, 23 Lealiifano.
Blues: 15 Piutau, 14 Halai, 13 Moala, 12 Nonu, 11 Li, 10 Hickey, 9 Hall; 1 Woodcock, 2 McCartney, 3 Faumuina, 4 Moli, 5 Triggs, 6 Kaino (c), 7 O'Connor, 8 Luatua.
Replacements: 16 Parsons, 17 Prattley, 18 Ta'avao, 19 Manihera, 20 Braod, 21 Takulua, 22 Saili, 23 Marshall.
You can see all the action from the Canberra Stadium as the Brumbies take on the Blues live on Sky Sports 3HD from 9:30am.
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|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com