Scrumhalf Nic White is ready for another season with the Brumbies, as the Canberra-based side prepare to begin their title defence against the Western Force in Perth on Friday.
Speaking with media earlier this week, White was visibly eager about returning to competitive rugby. With a big grin on his face, he admitted that he does “certainly prefer playing than training.”
Even though round one will see last year’s top side play last-placed, on paper at least, it seems like a very different Force side.
They’ve recruited some major names from the world of rugby, from both around the world and the east coast of Australia.
Arguably the most notable addition to the Force’s ranks for this season is test veteran Rob Kearney, who played 95-times for Ireland and toured with the British and Irish Lions twice (2009 & 2013). The 34-year-old has been named to start at fullback.
Former Wallabies Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Robertson and Kyle Godwin will also start, alongside Pumas players Tomas Lezana and Santiago Medrano, USA’s Marcel Brache and former All Black Jeremy Thrush.
But with plenty of other test experience on the bench, White’s expecting a tough challenge.
“I think they’re going to be very good. They’ve obviously done a lot of recruitment over the last twelve months, they’ve got some good names there; have got internationals coming off the bench and in their second team,” White said.
“We know it’s going to be bloody tough and we’ve got a lot of respect for the Force.
Ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read is set to team up with Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper for the first time ever this weekend.https://t.co/IJoavqmNPD
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 17, 2021
“They’re going to be extremely physical, we learnt that pretty quickly in the trial game and that was probably the biggest one for us, was how much that collision zone is going to be important.”
Friday’s clash will also bring a bit of normal back to rugby in Australia, with the Brumbies not having to fly in and out on gameday. The Brumbies instead arrived in Perth last night.
White also commented on the mental drain of those day trips yesterday, and how refreshing it will be to get over there early.
“[They were] Pretty tough, pretty long. Not physically draining but just a little bit mentally once you’re on the road and you’re on your way up to say for example somewhere like Suncorp, and you’re leaving early in the morning like nine, 10 o’clock, and not getting back until midnight or later.
“Just a little bit mentally draining. It can kind of catch up with you maybe the week after or two weeks after.
“It’s exciting to be able to go over a couple of days early, really focus on our prep physically.”
Friday’s clash will be the Force’s first Super Rugby match in Perth since 2017. Even though they returned from rugby exile in time for the first iteration of the Australian only competition last year, due to COVID-19 they weren’t able to play in Western Australia.
“From what we’re hearing there’s going to be a big crowd over there in Perth so that’s exciting as well, getting back to playing in front of some eyeballs.
“The noise alone will be exciting. It’s been a tough time playing in front of smaller crowds. I think there’s rumours that they might be able to pack it out so just that noise alone, we’ll pretend it’s ours.”
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