Banks feels Force can cover Kuridrani loss

Brumbies fullback Tom Banks says Western Force have plenty of threats without banned centre Tevita Kuridrani, who will miss the Super Rugby AU qualifying final.

TOM BANKS of the Brumbies.
TOM BANKS of the Brumbies. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

Brumbies fullback Tom Banks feels the Western Force are well placed to cover the loss of big centre Tevita Kuridrani, who will miss their Super Rugby AU qualifying final through suspension.

Kuridrani was part of the Brumbies' title-winning team last year before heading to Perth but won't be part of the Force line-up on Saturday night at GIO Stadium.

He was handed a three-game ban on Tuesday for his tip tackle on Queensland centre Hunter Paisami, meaning if the Force knock off the Brumbies, he will also miss the grand final against the Reds on May 8.

The 60-Test Wallabies veteran has been in impressive form for the Force, who upset the previously unbeaten Reds last round to secure a finals berth.

Banks knows the value that Kuridrani brings to a team but felt the Force had the depth to cover his absence, with ex-All Black Richard Kahui likely to get the nod.

"It would be disappointing for them as he's a world-class player and he brings a lot in attack and defence but they've got players who will step up in that position who will pose the same sort of threats," Banks said on Tuesday.

"We've expecting nothing different."

He said the Force still presented plenty of challenges across the park, demonstrated by speedster Jordan Olowofela, who scored a hat-trick of tries in their 30-27 victory.

The former England under-20s winger is on loan to the Force from UK club Leicester Tigers.

"They've got a really strong forward pack and if you saw the tries they scored on the weekend they've got some pace out wide," Banks said.

"For us, it's about playing our game this week."

"We know that the Force will bring a real physicality so we need to match that up front and play our own game."

The Brumbies are looking to ride a wave of home support after playing last year's grand final in front of a COVID-limited crowd, with just 6000 able to attend from a capacity of 25,000.

The Wallabies custodian said there was a buzz around rugby again in Canberra, with television viewing figures also steeply climbing this season.

"Speaking with people around Canberra and Australia, there's definitely a buzz around rugby which I haven't seen since I've been here," he said.