The Brumbies are expecting to keep their bulk of their squad intact as Australian rugby’s dire financial state bites at Super Rugby clubs.

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A five-team domestic competition that will start on July 3 was confirmed by Rugby Australia this week but with a broadcast deal yet to be locked in beyond 2020, some players are feeling edgy.

A number of off-contract Melbourne Rebels players are contemplating their futures, tempted by big money in Japan or Europe.

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Brumbies No. 8 Pete Samu

That includes starting lock Matt Philip, hooker Anaru Rangi, halfback Ryan Louwrens and centre Billy Meakes.

The club, however, are confident of holding on to prized asset, Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete, who signed a new two-year deal late last year.

They also feel secure about their future line-up with key Test players such as Dane Haylett-Petty, Matt Toomua, Jordan Uelese and Reece Hodge locked in.

The Brumbies are similarly upbeat about holding on to key personnel.

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Brumbies assistant coach Peter Hewat said most of their players were signed beyond 2020 and believed they wanted to stay put.

The Canberra-based club were leading the Australian conference and sitting second overall on the Super Rugby ladder before the competition was shut down in March.

“I think the majority of our squad are locked in and in regards to being uneasy I think that’s the world all over at the moment,” Hewat said on Thursday.

“There’s been no signs from our players that they are looking to get out and from a coaching point of view we’ve got to back our program and hopefully players feel they’re getting better and not looking elsewhere.”

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Hewat, who earned 40 caps for the Waratahs between 2005 and ’07 and represented Australia in Sevens, welcomed the return of the Force to the Australian Super Rugby competition.

He predicted the Perth side, who who were cut from Super Rugby at the end of 2017, would have a point to prove.

He said Force players might take on the “reject” tag that spurred the Brumbies when they first joined Super Rugby in 1996.

“They’ve been together for a few years now – their group has been pretty stable,” Hewat said.

“A lot of those players will probably be thinking how the Brumbies did back in the day in terms of that they weren’t wanted by other Super Rugby franchises, so I imagine they will have a big point to prove.

“They are excited to play and we are excited to play against them.”

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