Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has a problem any Super Rugby AU coach would want with bench players like Wallabies World Cup halfback Nic White jostling for a start.
White had an immediate impact when he ran on early in the second half against the Western Force on Friday night, setting up a try for flanker Will Miller as the Brumbies banked a 31-14 win.
With top place on the ladder secure with one round remaining, the Brumbies will host a home grand final on September 19 against the winner of the qualifying final between second and third.
Spending the past five years mostly playing overseas, White wasn’t expected to take part in this Super Rugby season with Joe Powell the starting No.9.
But the delay to the competition due to coronavirus meant White arrived midway.
His game smarts, pin-point passing and clever kicking game will he hard for McKellar to ignore in the grand final with so much on the line.
The Brumbies also had hooker Folau Faingaa, prop Scott Sio, flanker Rob Valentini and lock Darcy Swain all coming off the bench against the Force, with skipper Allan Alaalatoa saying they made a huge difference.
The Brumbies were leading 10-7 when White and co came on, before running in three second half tries.
“They got injected there at 50 minutes in and we scored straight away,” Alaalatoa said.
“The intent and experience they bring off the bench, it was a huge lift for us and I think it will give Dan a headache with selection going forward which is good.”
A crowd of 3000 was allowed into GIO Stadium to watch Friday’s match and Alaalatoa was hopeful that figure would increase for the grand final if restrictions on gatherings eased further.
“Hopefully in three weeks it can lift again and we can get more in into the stadium as it will be special to play a final here at home,” he said.
“You definitely notice the difference when your back’s against the wall, when fans are so passionate and loud.”
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