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Brumbies confident of keeping majority of squad intact despite dire financial outlook

By AAP
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

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

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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.

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

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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.”

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.

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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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Flankly 9 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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