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McKenzie tips classic Super semi-final

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SYDNEY - Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie is predicting a classic Super Rugby semi-final on Saturday night between Australian arch rivals the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs.

But he's not tipping a winner.

Appropriately as national coach, McKenzie was sitting firmly on the fence when asked yesterday how he sees the sudden-death showdown playing out.

He acknowledged the Waratahs would enjoy an edge playing at Allianz Stadium, where the runaway minor premiers are unbeaten in six games in 2014, but said the Brumbies boasted more big-game finals experience.

"It's got the hallmarks for a classic, really exciting game from a technical point of view and also from an emotional point of view," McKenzie said.

"So I can't pick a winner."

The evenness of the teams is reflected in McKenzie's selection of 11 Waratahs and 11 Brumbies in his 32-man Wallabies squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

"Home ground is certainly meaningful and you can't deny the fact — if you look at their for and against — the Waratahs have been a dominant force. That points to consistency over the season," McKenzie said.

"But when you get to finals, it gets to one game — singles games — and the Brumbies have got experience at the end of the competition, so that's a good thing."

McKenzie said the Brumbies' recent shift towards a more attacking style of game also set the stage for an intriguing encounter.

"If you'd have asked me a couple of weeks back, I would have said there's some contrasting styles there," he said.

"But there's some similarities in their approach now, which makes for a really interesting game.

"Both teams have got different strengths and therefore they'll be trying to impose themselves on each other."

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