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Test spots last thing on Brumbies' minds

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CANBERRA - It's a Super Rugby blockbuster so chock-full of Test experience that you could start two Wallabies sides, but jostling for green and gold jerseys will be the last thing on the players' minds.

The Waratahs versus Brumbies clash is being billed as the biggest Australian derby since the two sides last met in a semi-final 12 years ago — with expectations of a 35,000-strong crowd to show up at Allianz Stadium.

And in what will only add extra spice to the build-up, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will announce a 32-man squad for next month's Rugby Championship today. It means Saturday's knockout match will be the last chance for some players who made the cut to impress McKenzie for a match-day spot.

But Brumbies prop Scott Sio — who came off the bench in the third Test against France — is adamant Wallabies selection issues won't factor in the players' minds.

Not when there's a Super Rugby grand final spot up for grabs.

"Not at all. It's all about making sure that we get the result done," Sio said.

"For me, I can't be worrying about things like that.

"I've got to make sure I get my job done first and foremost so the team functions."

Sio's duel against Test stalwart Benn Robinson — who was a shock exclusion from the Test squad to take on France — will be just one of a dozen key skirmishes.

Principle match-ups include: Israel Folau vs Jesse Mogg; Henry Speight vs Rob Horne; Kurtley Beale vs Christian Lealiifano; Ben Alexander vs Sekope Kepu; Adam Ashley Cooper vs Tevita Kuridrani; Wycliff Palu vs Ben Mowen; Sam Carter vs Kane Douglas.

The list goes on.

But perhaps the most crucial battle will be between in-form No.10s Bernard Foley and Matt Toomua, while the showdown between their delivery agents Nick Phipps and Nic White should also prove pivotal.








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