Brumbies Have Peaked - Maybe

The Rolling Maul was pretty spot-on the first time these two teams went round this season. Using the patented Overrated - Underrated method, the Rolling Maul predicted a tight match in which ultimately the Brumbies would win fairly comfortably. And so it proved.

Now that the system has been proven to work, it's time to give it another spin so we can find out if the Waratahs are laying a platform for 2013 or will continue their annus horrobilis. Likewise for the Brumbies, they may be leading the Australian conference but if you believe the critics of Australian Rugby (apparently there's a couple) that's nothing to write home about.
A reminder, each player is rated 2 points if they're generally considered underrated by The Rolling Maul, 1 point if they're rated fairly (or are unknown), and -1 point if they're considered overrated. Reserves score half points.

WARATAHS
 
Backs
Adam Ashley-Cooper - Rated
Lachie Turner - Underrated
Rob Horne - Rated
Berrick Barnes - Rated
Drew Mitchell - Rated
Bernard Foley - Underrated
Grayson Hart - Underrated (almost by definition as no one has ever heard of him)
Sub-total  10

Forwards
Wycliff Palu - Rated
Chris Alcock - Underrated
Dave Dennis - Rated
Kane Douglas - Rated
Dean Mumm - Overrated
Sekope Kepu - Overrated
Tatafu Polota-Nau - Rated
Benn Robinson - Rated
Sub-total  5

Replacements
Josh Mann-Rea - Overrated
Paddy Ryan - Rated
Sitaleki Timani - Overrated
Lopeti Timani - Rated
Brendan McKibbin - Rated
Tom Carter - Underrated
Tom Kingston - Underrated
Sub-total  2.5

TOTAL  17.5

BRUMBIES

Backs
Robbie Coleman - Overrated
Henry Speight - Overrated
Andrew Smith - Rated
Pat McCabe - Rated
Jesse Mogg - Rated
Zack Holmes - Underrated
Nic White - Rated
Sub-total  4

Forwards
Ben Mowen - Underrated
Michael Hooper- Rated
Peter Kimlin - Overrated
Sam Carter - Underrated
Scott Fardy - Underrated
Dan Palmer - Rated
Stephen Moore - Rated
Ben Alexander - Overrated

Sub-total  7
Replacements
Cam Crawford - Rated
Tevita Kuridrani - Rated
Ian Prior - Rated
Ita Vaea - Underrated
Leon Power - Rated
Anthony Hegarty - Rated
Ruaidhri Murphy - Overrated
Sub-total  3

TOTAL  14

CONCLUSIONNow there's a turnaround for the books. The Brumbies much lauded backline has perhaps overreached its potential this season. So while they may be leading the Australian conference they may have already peaked, with some players now in the starting line-up because of reputation. This contrasts sharply with the Waratahs backline, nearly all of whom are either retuning from the Wallabies or from injury. The Brumbies will be wise therefore not to underestimate them.

It's just as interesting in the forwards. While the Waratahs forward pack has been generally perceived to have performed OK this season, it's the Brumbies' big men that have proved to be doing all the hard work to enable their backs to take the glory.

The Waratah backline is loaded with talent and potential, but it could all be wasted if their forwards don't muscle up. It's the recipe for either a fascinating tactical duel or a disappointing slogfest. Alas, in typical interstate fashion, expect the latter, but a sneaky opportunist try out wide might just see the Waratahs close it out.  

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