Brumbies' Slipper wary of familiar Force

Defending Super Rugby AU champions the Brumbies will need to thwart a confident Western Force outfit to defend their title against the Reds.

JAMES SLIPPER.
JAMES SLIPPER. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

James Slipper always tipped the Western Force to be there at the pointy end of the Super Rugby AU season so the Brumbies' prop is well aware of the threat they'll pose in Saturday's semi-final.

The defending champions comfortably beat the Force in both their previous games this season but will clash with a confidence-stocked side in Canberra to decide who meets the Queensland Reds in the decider.

The Force have won their previous three games by one, one and three points respectively, toppling the Reds last weekend to sneak into third to complete a remarkable return to the Australian landscape.

"At the start of the year I had them making the finals ... it was all about them gelling and building those combinations," said Slipper, who returns to the starting side this Saturday.

"A slow start for them but coming good now; they knocked off the Reds so they're a serious threat and we're preparing that way."

He'll lock horns with 37-year-old former teammate Greg Holmes, who has bolstered the Force scrum to complement a threatening backline led by Argentine halfback Tomas Cubelli.

"My old mate Greg Holmes is still kicking along which is good to see," Slipper said of his former Queensland Reds teammate.

"I always know if he's still playing I have a few good years still in me, that's one good thing about Holmesy.

"There's quality there and it sets up a good battle up front."

Nic White, Pete Samu and Irae Simone are also back in the starting line-up for the must-win game, while ball-winning backrower Luke Reimer could make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.