Super Rugby Preview - Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Super Rugby Preview – Brumbies

Super Rugby Preview – Brumbies

After a 2014 season plagued by injuries where they made the semi-final before going down to the eventual winners in the Waratahs, the 2015 season for the Brumbies poses a few questions for their fans. There has been a bit of change both on and off the field and it will be interesting to see how those changes affect the team.

The first question surrounds the coaching staff and how Stephen Larkham will go as sole head coach following the departure of director of rugby Laurie Fisher to Gloucester. There has been a change at the top for the second year in a row and stability is key for the Brumbies to taste success in 2015.

Larkham has been in the coaching system for a few years now and has the opportunity to stamp his own style on the Brumbies style of play which he knows so much about. The Brumbies have been criticised in some circles for conservative play in past seasons but with Larkham at the helm, fans are hoping to see a more expansive and attacking style that was their hallmark in the early 2000’s.

Larkham will be joined in the coaching ranks by Dan McKellar in his second season with the Brumbies and he also took on the role of head coach of the Vikings side in the NRC, coming away with mixed results. McKellar takes over as the forwards coach in the role vacated by Fisher. Coming into the setup this year is former Brumbies player Peter Ryan as contact coach after stints with league sides mainly as a defensive consultant and his no nonsense approach will be welcomed.

Here he is playing for the Brumbies against the British & Irish Lions in 2001 involved in a bit of contact with Iain Balshaw, and others.

2015 will see a new captain for the Canberra side after Ben Mowen departed for Montpellier at the end of the 2014 season. Stephen Moore was appointed shortly after the previous season had ended and that would have given him plenty of time to pass on his messages to the side during the off season.

Moore suffered a season ending knee injury just five minutes into his Test captaincy debut but that injury may have had a silver lining as it allowed him more time with the newer members of the squad and to observe his charges as he completed his rehabilitation.

Probably the biggest question surrounding the Brumbies in 2015 is how David Pocock returns after a lengthy lay off after a second knee reconstruction. He has been limited to just five competitive games in the past two seasons with the Brumbies and with the World Cup looming, will hopefully get back to his best quickly.

Luck of the draw

The draw sees the Brumbies only travel outside Australia once in the opening eight rounds with that sole international fixture being against the Chiefs in round two. The tour to South Africa doesn’t occur until the final third of the season with Cape Town and Johannesburg on the itinerary and could prove tricky fixtures. The Brumbies will avoid the Sharks and Hurricanes in the home and away rounds.

The middle portion of the season looks to be their most favorable with a stretch of four out of five games at home in Canberra including the keenly awaited fixture against the reigning champions in May. The final game of the season is against the Crusaders and hopefully the Brumbies finals spot is already sewn up by that point without having to rely on beating the most successful team in Super rugby history.

Fixtures


Round 1 – 13/2 Reds, Canberra
Round 2 – 20/2 Chiefs, New Plymouth
Round 3 – 27/2 Rebels, Melbourne
Round 4 – 6/3 Force, Canberra
Round 5 – 14/3 Reds, Brisbane
Round 6 – 22/3 Waratahs, Sydney
Round 7 – BYE
Round 8 – 4/4 Cheetahs, Canberra
Round 9 – 10/4 Blues, Auckland

Round 10 – 18/4 Rebels, Canberra
Round 11 – 24/4 Highlanders, Canberra
Round 12 – 1/5 Waratahs, Canberra
Round 13 – 9/5 Stormers, Cape Town
Round 14 – 16/5 Lions, Johannesburg
Round 15 – BYE
Round 16 – 29/5 Bulls, Canberra
Round 17 – 5/6 Force, Perth
Round 18 – 13/6 Crusaders, Canberra

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  • brumby runner

    Thanks BJ. Very little change in the starting lineup from last year, so stability should be a strong factor in the Brumbies’ favour this year. Biggest losses are Mowen, McCabe and Smith, but with Sam and Henry establishing themselves in the Wallabies, it is a very strong lineup.

    The reserves will again be the team’s main worry as apart from Josh Mann-Rea, the Smith twins, Jarrad Butler and Robbie Coleman, there’s not a lot of experience there. I am hoping that the likes of Ah Wong, Dargaville and Taliauli can step up if injuries hit the backline.

    Is there a Wider Training Squad this year? Perry, Powell and Alan Alaalatoa could be very handy if opportunities do arise.

    I think the forwards will be strong at set piece again, but I am a bit concerned by the manner in which the Canberra Vikings went about defending rolling mauls in the NRC. Their tactic of hitting the maul hard and pushing through left them exposed when the opposition peeled off to the side. A few tries were scored against them in this fashion. With McKellar now the forwards coach, I hope he has our defensive maul a bit more controlled and ready to realign rather than committing entirely to the push forward. Anyway, that’s how I saw it. Could really be a problem against the Reds who have refined the maul as their main attacking tool anywhere near the tryline.

    I think we are sure to see some very punishing tackling under the tutelage of Peter Ryan. Imagine Matt Toomua being coached by Ryno. Opposing No 10s will be a sore and sorry lot.

    A finals spot should be well within their capability again this year. Hope the crowds start coming back.

  • I don’t think there is an official EPS as such but there were local club players, and others, involved in the early stages of pre season whilst the Wallabies were away.

    Guys like Staniforth and Iona have been involved in the past and now they’re in the top squad.

    Jarrad Butler certainly took his chance last year after being thrust into the 7 jersey and ended up winning the Brett Robinson medal and I think that was well deserved.

  • Brackets

    Interesting draw, 9 Friday night games, 5 of them in Canberra.

    Am looking forward to the season, 20th year so hopefully will be a good one. Biggest thing I’m hoping for is the Canberra crowds to get to the games, if we can pack out the stadium for a soccer game not involving Australia, then surely we can get more than 12000 to a rugby game!!

    Here’s to a great (injury free, particularly for a certain player of the Flanker variety please Mr Rugby God) season.

    • 2 of those Friday night games are against the biggest rivals Reds and Waratahs. Last year those games went head to head with other events in Canberra and lost.

      Playing the Waratahs on a Friday night isn’t great as it denies a chance for the opposition fans to travel but seeing as they play in Cape Town the following week, that extra 24 hours recovery is crucial.

  • Brendan Hume

    Well done on the write up. Not sure if I’d have Arnold in the top XV just yet and also not sure about leaving Butler out of that top XV.
    The real problem for the Brumbies is in getting fans to the games and turning around their financial fortunes.
    Without checking those dates, but going off Brackets summary here – if there are 5 Fri night games in Canberra, they’re going to struggle. The sad fact is Canberra in winter is a miserable place. The sadder fact is that Canberra in winter at night time is even worse. Sunday local derbies need to be the order of the day for the Brumbies to tap into the family market and regain some support from the community. Hopefully some of those Fri night games are earlier in the year and it doesn’t hurt them too much.

    • RobC

      Will be interesting how Arnold shapes up

  • Seb V

    So Fardy will be running the line-outs.I hope this is a success that will transfer to the wallabies.

  • Scotty

    “Sean Doyle… should provide cover at openside”


    Pocock’s no injured already, is he??

    • Tim

      Not yet *fingers crossed really, really hard*

  • Tim

    Nice one Steve. Looking forward to kick off.

  • ChargerWA

    Damn that’s a good squad. Can I change my prediction to them topping the Aus conference?

  • RobC

    Thanks Steve. Palmer back as scrum coach, after a NH stint. Scrum this Friday should be interesting.

  • Maxt

    I look forward to the all the mis-spellings of the Leslie’s surname!

ACT Brumbies
@steve_l15

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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