There’s a new-born hunger growing inside Australian Super Rugby clubs.
It’s fuelled by the promise from new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie that form will trump reputation when picking his test sides.
Brumbies inside centre Irae Simone, who re-signed on Tuesday until 2022, extended his stay in Canberra in a bid to make the Wallabies No. 12 his own this year.
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New Zealand-born Simone came to Australia in 2014 and spent two years at NRL club South Sydney and then two seasons at the NSW Waratahs.
The 24-year-old joined the Brumbies last season and made 16 appearances, including starts in their quarter-final and the semi-final.
“I came down with some goals. I got an opportunity and I didn’t look back – I grabbed it with both hands,” Simone said.
“It was good to get that security (of re-signing). All I need to worry about now is playing good footy.
“(Wallabies) is a goal but at the moment my priority is Brumbies.
“If can do well here then everything else will take care of itself.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 5, 2020
Simone will line up against another Wallabies aspirant, Billy Meakes, when the Brumbies host the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.
The Rebels are reeling following an embarrassing loss to the axe-bound Sunwolves in Japan, and Simone said he’s expecting a massive response.
“A team like that, they won’t let that happen again, they’ll be looking to bounce back,” he said.
“Our main priority is to be physical because we know they’re going to come out firing.
“They’re going to play direct and quick – Meakes is pretty hard on ball and (Matt) Toomua will just run the show.
“It’s about shutting down Toomua, he’s a good ball player and the one directing their players so we’ll see if we can take him out of the game.”
Brumbies hooker Folau Faingaa agreed and promised the wonky scrum that featured in their season-opening win against Queensland last week was fixed.
“The Rebels would be filthy but they’ve got a week to get themselves together and bounce back,” Faingaa said.
“First game you’ve got to get those cobwebs out. Now it’s about putting on a good show for our community who are hurting a bit (due to bushfires).”
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