Brumbies duo itching for season to start after eight months out of action
The Brumbies open their campaign against the Western Force at GIO Stadium on Sunday afternoon and it’s not before long for Banks and Longergan.
Banks hasn’t played since breaking an arm against South Africa in September, while it’s been more than eight months since Lonergan last stepped out for a match proper.
The 23-year-old didn’t plan on the final match of last year’s Super Rugby Trans-Tasman in June being his season ender.
But after being called into the Wallabies squad as injury cover for Brumbies teammate Nic White before the three-Test series with France, the classy halfback ended up staying in camp for the duration of the Rugby Championship as well.
While he impressed Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and even come under selection consideration, Lonergan never enjoyed any game time at international level.
Little wonder he’s champing at the bit to get stuck in against the Force.
“Yeah, it’s been a while,” he said on Monday.
“It was a great year – pretty long – but I’m just keen to get back into some footy now.
“I was in that Wallabies camp quite a while and, due to circumstances, couldn’t come back and play for the Vikings or anything.”
Lonergan’s experience with the Wallabies was invaluable, though.
“A couple of things to work on – there always is – and it fuelled that fire,” he said.
“It was so much fun being there. It would have been great to get a game – I obviously didn’t but it makes you want to come back bigger and better this year.”
Banks, too, is eager for 2022 to get under way.
“It’s been a long pre-season but a really good one,” the fullback said.
“My form has been really good but nothing compares to being out there (in a match proper).”
Banks and Lonergan are also excited at the prospect of facing off against former Brumbies trio Bayley Kuenzie, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Reece Tapine.
As much for the banter as anything.
“Obviously ‘Ray’ has come a long way. DK as well. I was living with Finesy so hopefully I’ll be able to see him out there as well,” Banks said.
“We know what they bring. They’re all threatening players so it’s going to be an interesting battle.”
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