Ben Mowen adamant set pieces will not suffer
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen is adamant his side's competition-leading set piece won't suffer without Test hooker Stephen Moore when they host a monster Blues pack in wet conditions on Friday night.
Back-up hooker Siliva Siliva will replace Moore, who is suffering a niggling knee injury, in the only change made to the Brumbies' Super Rugby run-on side that lost to the Rebels in Melbourne last Friday.
Moore has been outstanding at the set piece this year.
The Brumbies have the second-best lineout, with a 93 per cent win rate on their own throw, and fourth-best scrum (89 per cent on own feed), making their overall set piece by far the competition's best.
That's in direct contrast to the Blues, who despite a dramatic improvement in last week's win against the Highlanders, have the third-worst lineout (80 per cent) and worst scrum (71 per cent).
However, treacherously wet conditions in Canberra coupled with the loss of linchpin Moore will put a lot of weight on the shoulders of young Siliva, as well as Josh Mann-Rea on the bench.
The duo have experienced extremely limited game time over the past two years as Moore hasn't missed a Brumbies match through injury since 2011.
''It's disappointing. You always want your best players available,'' Mowen said.
''But the two guys that come in measure themselves against Squeek (Moore) each week - they know what level is expected, and I'm sure they'll deliver.''
The Blues' recent success has a lot to do with the fact they've averaged more points per game (30.7) than any other team this season, but their flair will be hindered given the heavy ground.
On the other hand, the wet conditions should assist the Brumbies' tighter, territory-based game plan, which relies heavily on the boots of halfback Nic White, flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg.
However, Mowen said the two sides had played each other in the rain twice in the past two years, including when the Blues crushed the Brumbies' finals hopes in the last round of 2012.
''So I don't think it advantages or disadvantages either side,'' he said.
The Blues will be skippered by recently returned World Cup-winning All Blacks backrower Jerome Kaino, who will lead a huge forward pack that also boasts NZ Test props Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumaina, as well as No.8 Steven Luatua.
NRL convert Benji Marshall has also kept his spot on the Blues' bench despite copping flak about his performances from NZ media in recent days.
''I think he's a guy who can make it,'' Mowen said.
''He's highly skilful and already shown he's got some very classy touches.''