2017 Team Preview: Brumbies

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The Brumbies were impressive in topping the Australian conference in 2016 but will be looking for even more success this season.

Home: GIO Stadium
Last Season: 4th

Squad:
Allan Alaalatoa, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Nic Mayhew, Scott Sio, Faalelei Sione, Robbie Abel, Saia Faing’a, Josh Mann-Rea, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Blake Enever, Tom Staniforth, Chris Alcock, Jarrad Butler, Tom Cusack, Lolo Fakaosilea, Scott Fardy, Ben Hyne, Jordan Smiler, Rob Valetini, Tomas Cubelli, Ryan Lonergan, Joe Powell, Anthony Fainga’a, Kyle Godwin, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Nick Jooste, Wharenui Hawera, Christian Leali’ifano, Nigel Ah Wong, James Dargaville, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, Henry Speight, Lausii Taliaiuli, Tom Banks, Aidan Toua.

Game breaker:
Lock Rory Arnold shapes as an important part of the Brumbies forward pack after signing a three-year contract with the side. A peripatetic traveller with experience in South Africa and in New South Wales, he has committed himself to the Canberra-based franchise and at 2.08m he will be a key lineout performer for the side. He made his Test debut against England last year and scored his first Test try against the All Blacks. A latecomer to rugby he will be an important part of rebuilding the Brumbies side.

Key signing:
Waikato and Southland first five-eighths Wharenui Hawera is an important acquisition for the Brumbies and has a chance to stake a genuine claim in the role having been squeezed out of opportunities in New Zealand. A player who showed his worth in the Mitre 10 Cup, if he is able to fit in with the Brumbies requirements, while also learning from a master in Stephen Larkham, then there is a chance he will advance his career significantly.

Returning veteran:
Prop Scott Sio, 25, steps up in the leadership role for the Brumbies this year. The 29-cap Wallaby has been stepping out in international rugby long enough to be a key contributor for his side which has lost so much intellectual property this season. With 65 Super Rugby appearances as well, he is one of the most experienced players for the Brumbies and that will be crucial for the side. And in his role on the loosehead of the scrum he will be vital in securing the solidity of the set-piece phase for the side.

The Scoop
It was a nice touch when the Brumbies named Christian Leali’ifano as co-captain of their side, in spite of the fact that he is undergoing treatment for leukaemia. He will perform his role in partnership with lock Sam Carter. While unable to play for the side at this stage Leali’ifano has on off-field role which will be utilised by the squad. Coach Stephen Larkham said Leali’ifano had an ability to lift the side when he was around. He was a motivator who enjoyed immense respect from his team-mates. The desire to respect his contribution could be a powerful boost for the side.


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