THE Brumbies Provincial Tournament has undergone a major shake up following South Australia’s withdrawal ahead of the weekend’s rugby union action.
After coming into the tournament last year, South Australia’s absence has forced the draw for the three-day tournament to be redone.
Instead of two games each day at Conolly Rugby Complex only one will be play.
It means Southern Inland will have the day off on Sunday with games against South Coast on Saturday and Monaro on Monday.
There was discussion between the three competitions to condense the tournament to two days, however Monaro didn’t come on board with the proposal.
Southern Inland manager Mick McTaggart said the change has caused some dramas, but is looking forward to the weekend of rugby.
“We are disappointed, especially with the timing of it,” McTaggart said.
“South Australia gave us another hard game but we just have to move on.”
South Australia’s withdrawal has prevented an Australian Defence Force team from playing in the tournament.
To help strengthen South Coast’s chances, a number of Southern Inland players put up their hands to play.
Notably Marika Vunibaka is one of four Leeton players who will take on Southern Inland.
Phantoms’ players Dan Patu, Sam Allen and Stuart Dyer will also line up for South Coast as will Wagga City’s Seth Stoltenberg, Tumut’s Coen Potter and Griffith quartet Matt Vitucci, Andrew Madden, Suni Sami and Vaea Mateo.
SIRU coach Richard Turnbull has only made one change to his team, with Albury hooker Tom Boyle the injured Tom Dunstan.
Boyle is no stranger to the SIRU representative team and will add some more size to the squad already dominated by Steamers.
The only injury concerns centres around Albury’s new South African recruit Lex Botha, but Turnbull said his recovery from a hamstring injury is going well.
“I think there is a very strong likelihood that we will play him (Botha) but will make a decision on Friday evening if I give him a bit of a run on Saturday or only on Monday,” Turnbull said.
SIRU is chasing a fifth-straight win in the tournament, however Turnbull is expecting a stronger challenge from Monaro this year.
“They are very focused this year and have a very good team,” he said. “I think it will be a pretty good contest between us and Monaro.”
Despite an impressive record to defend, Turnbull isn’t dripping with confidence.
“We are going to try and play the best we can,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about anything else as outcomes take care of themselves if you are playing well.”
BRUMBIES PROVINCIAL TOURNAMENT DRAW
Conolly Rugby Complex
3.00pm - Southern Inland v South Coast
3:00pm - South Coast v Monaro
11.00am - Monaro v Southern Inland
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