Super Rugby Team Preview 2013 – BrumbiesAuthor: Nick | Filed under: Team Previews
The Canberra collective were the surprise package of 2013 tripping up opposition only to stumble themselves at the last hurdle. The Brumbies squad has remained stable while opposition players are being passed around like a bottle of whisky in a hobo camp. Their only major loss is Michael Hooper but they’ve acquired the services of an even bigger nuisance in David “Poacher” Pocock. The confidence Jake White has inspired in his players has kept them together and they will be a serious threat this season.
With the Brumbies personnel unchanged from last year and a clean bill of health we can expect the more of the same but in 3D. Christian Lealiifano running things and the likes of Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight and Joe Tomane punching holes like angry teenagers. The forwards, led by Ben Mowen boast an all-Wallaby front row. While Hooper was excellent last season it’s good for him that he left because Pocock is something else. They do have a weakness in the lineouts so teams kicking against the Brumbies better make sure they kick it out and not to that half-man-half-kangaroo fullback, Jesse Mogg.
Other than the dangerous David Pocock, South Africans will be particularly interested to see exiled Clyde “Rattlebones” Rathbone showing up for the Brumbies. It was Jake White who tried to convince the U21 Springbok World Cup Winning captain to stay in South Africa way back in 2002. Rattlebones went to Oz, got depressed, injured, ate chocolate and retired early while the Magician went on to win the 2007 World Cup with the Springboks. Things could have been so different for Rathbone but White has given him a great opportunity for redemption.
Players to watch
Henry Speight (10m) scored 8 tries last season, double that of any of his teammates and he’s only half a million more expensive than Jesse Mogg who’s price is inflated by his intermittent long-range penalty goals. With only Aussie teams playing in the first round, he should be one of the first names you chalk up.
Christian Lealiifano (10m): not a bad price as Fly Halfs go, he kicked 84% last season and could rack up the points in 2013. The one hindrance to his scoring is not taking all the kicks, he leaves the difficult ones to Mogg.
David Pocock (9.5m) managed 3 tries for the Force last year and we know how dreadful they are. Now that he’s in a decent side he should pick up more wins to go with the occasional try.
Ben Alexander (7.5m): with Taumalolo gone from Super Rugby managers will be looking for front-rowers who score tries. Relying on props to score tries, now that the big Tongan has left, is something of a lottery but Alexander has 16 super rugby tries including a couple last year and that does improve the odds.
Clyde Rathbone (6.5m): The bad news- he’s old, he’s very out of practice and may not even play. The good news- he’s dirt cheap, he’s talented and he’s desperate. White has more tricks than clown’s pocket and this might be just the sort that he whips from his sleeves. UDT have listed him as an outside back but don’t be surprised if White plays him at centre, especially with the likes of Tomane, Speight and Mogg in the backline.
The Brumbies had a very good season last year with more than a few outstanding performances, in the end they were pipped at the post by the Reds to finish 2nd in the Aussie conference and 7th overall.
After last years disappointment at being edged out they learnt some tough lessons, expect the them to hit the ground running and attempt to dominate the Aussie conference. We expect the Brumbies to win the Aussie conference to make the playoffs.
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