The Force opened its 2015 Super Rugby pre-season campaign with a 31-21 victory over the Brumbies at McGillivray Oval on Friday evening.
The home side dominated the first half, transferring pressure into points with three unanswered tries to Luke Morahan, Chris Alcock and Marcel Brache to lead 17-7 at the break.
While the visitors claimed the better running of the third term, the Western Australians closed out the match with two tries in the final 20 minutes to run out 10-point victors.
Force head coach Michael Foley said there was some positive signs ahead of the club’s 10th season of Super Rugby.
“That first 40 was exactly what we wanted; it was a tough contest and we won that first 20 and came out on top at half time,” he said.
The Brumbies will field 8 Wallabies, including David Pocock, this Friday – when they head to Perth to face the Force in the first Super Rugby hit-out of 2015.
In the backs the likes of Matt Toomua, Nic White, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane and Henry Speight will all feature, while 2014 top-try scorer Robbie Coleman will also travel west for the game.
The Players’ Player of the Year, Jarrad Butler, fronts a strong pack of Brumbies forwards – including Pocock, who has been named for the first time since February last year when he suffered a ruptured ACL.
Both Sekope Kepu (Waratahs) and Nic White (Brumbies), have added their names to the long list of Australian Players who will pack up and go play rugby in France after the Rugby World Cup of 2015.
Australian international prop Sekope Kepu has become the latest addition to the conveyor belt moving players from the Southern Hemisphere to France.
Kepu signed a three-year deal with ambitious Top 14 club Bordeaux-Begles.
The 28-year-old Wallaby – who will join after this year’s World Cup – is the second player from the Waratahs to join the club coached by former France captain Raphael Ibanez.
Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.
The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.
Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.
Nic White and David Pocock will help lead the Brumbies as vice-captains in 2015, after head coach Stephen Larkham and captain Stephen Moore made the announcement on Thursday.
Both Pocock and White have proven leadership qualities having led professional sides on the big stage in the past.
White was named the Brumbies youngest captain against the Hurricanes in 2013, while Pocock has captained both the Wallabies and the Western Force.
A former Brumbies academy captain, White said he was thrilled to have been acknowledged with the vice-captaincy of the main squad.
With Super Rugby fast approaching it is important to have a look at what each of the teams are doing in their preparations and who they have at their disposal.
As the teams prepare for this brusing competition there is the oppourtunity to test out combanations as well as see how the new boys go.
The Sharks will travel to French champions Toloun to test out their game plan against the Galacticos of rugby while the Bulls will take on the Cheetahs in a traditional pre-season match in Polokwane.
The Australasian sides will also warm up against each other with the Highlanders setting up a comprehensive pre-season schedule due to the first round bye.
The ‘transfer market’ has made the upcoming Super Rugby season an exciting prospect with some big names in James O’Connor and Nick Cummins returning to Australia.
Menawhile, the Bulls have bolstered their squad with some excellent former Cheetahs players.
Finally, and unsurprizingly, Ma’a Nonu has made another move – this time back to the Hurricanes.
The Brumbies have appointed Michael Jones as the club’s Chief Executive Officer for the next three years, replacing Doug Edwards who resigned in December.
Jones returns to his hometown Canberra to tackle the role with the Brumbies having most recently held the Chief Executive’s position with investment banking and corporate advisory firm, Canterbury Hill Advisory in Sydney.
Jones said it was exciting to be back in Canberra working with an organisation he has followed closely his entire life.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, there is a lot of work to get the Brumbies and community rugby to where I want it, but I’m excited by the challenge,” Jones said.
The Brumbies will say farewell to Doug Edwards as Chief Executive of the club after the long-serving board member announced his departure on Monday.
Edwards has external business interests to the Brumbies which will see him return to Queensland.
Edwards will remain with the Brumbies until his replacement has been appointed and is working in the role. The search for a replacement is already underway and has turned up several positive leads.
Twenty-three newly contracted Australian rugby players have gathered in Sydney for the 12 annual RUPA Induction Camp at St Andrew’s College.
In attendance are players across all five Australian Super Rugby teams and the National Sevens who have been offered their first full time or Extended Playing Squad (EPS) contract for 2015.
Last year the Camp involved players including Will Skelton, Alofa Alofa, Jack Debreczeni, Curtis Browning, Samu Kerevi and Adam Coleman.
In 2014, the camp includes five players from the Brumbies, four from the Waratahs, Rebels and Force, three from the Reds and, for the first time, three members of the women’s National Sevens squad.
The Force will host two pre-season fixtures in Perth against the Brumbies (Friday 23 January) and the Asia Pacific Dragons (Saturday 31 January) in the lead-in to the club’s 10th Super Rugby season.
Both matches will be played at McGillivray Oval in Mount Claremont.
The two matches will give the passionate ‘Sea of Blue’ their opportunity to see the Force in action prior to their season-opener against the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday 15 February.
The Australian Rugby Union has issued a formal written warning to David Pocock following his arrest on Sunday.
In a statement published on Monday afternoon, the ARU said, “While we appreciate David has personal views on a range of matters, we’ve made it clear that we expect his priority to be ensuring he can fulfil his role as a high-performance athlete.
“The matter is now subject to legal proceedings and we will now let the legal process take its course.”
Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham turned down the opportunity to help coach the Wallabies on their End Of Year Tour.
The Rugby World Cup winning Wallabies playmaker Larkham has tipped to be the attack coach working as an assistant to Michael Cheika.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was confirmed as replacement Wallabies coach on Wednesday.
Larkham said that he was honoured to be considered but would prefer to concentrate on preparing for the Brumbies upcoming Super Rugby season.
ACT Brumbies third-string hooker Josh Mann-Rea is on the verge of a shock Wallabies call-up as coach Ewen McKenzie battles an “unbelievable” injury toll that is set give former coalminer Mann-Rea his national debut.
Injured Wallabies captain Stephen Moore says Mann-Rea has the resolve to perform on the international stage, as the rake known as “Bongo” contemplates the biggest moment of his career.
The ACT Brumbies have declared Jarrad Butler a “star of the future” after the unheralded back-rower claimed a double delight at the club’s awards dinner on Saturday.
Butler emerged as the stand out player in a team boasting 13 Wallabies, winning his first Brett Robinson award as the players’ player for the Super Rugby season.
The open letter written by Pat McCabe.
It has truly been an honour to represent the Brumbies and the Wallabies over the past five years.
While my playing career has not ended the way I would have liked, I consider myself extremely fortunate.
Fortunate to have met and shared experiences with special players and coaches.
Stephen Moore will take over as ACT Brumbies captain in 2015.
Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore will captain the Brumbies for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
Moore will replace Ben Mowen, who quit Australian rugby to pursue his career in France.
The Brumbies will announce Moore’s appointment on Wednesday morning, backing the experienced hooker to guide the club to Super Rugby success.
The Brumbies have watered down head coach Stephen Larkham’s comments that hardman Pat McCabe has retired, saying the 26-year-old’s playing future hinges on a meeting with the Wallabies’ doctor.
McCabe fractured his neck in the Wallabies’ 51-20 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, with Larkham telling ABC radio on Wednesday morning the 24-Test winger had decided to hang up his boots after consulting with a specialist.
If you thought NSW Watarahs and Australian Wallabies battering ram Will Skelton was big, meet ACT Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.
The 208cm, 130kg lock created huge headlines last year after being involved in an alleged biting incident in South Africa, but Arnold is determined to make a big impact at the Brumbies for the right reasons.
While man mountain Skelton weighs in at 140kg, at 203cm he can’t match Arnold, who is equal in height with former South African player Andries Bekker. They are the tallest players in Super Rugby’s 19-year history.
When the scholars trawl through history and attempt to unearth the origins of a Waratahs premiership, they may settle on two names.
Michael Cheika and Israel Folau? No? Okay, what about Kurtley Beale, or Nathan Grey?
All those will feature, certainly.
But in the timeline but they’d have to go back further and head 287km south to Canberra.
There they’d find the names Jake White and Ita Vaea, and a moment-in-time conversation between the new Brumbies coach and a kid with six starts called Michael Hooper.
The year was 2011 and Hooper had been at the Brumbies for two seasons; serving as back-up to the legendary George Smith in his debut year.
Brumbies scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann has returned to play for the Sharks in this year’s Currie Cup, the Durban team announced via their official website.
The 26-year-old played for the Sharks between 2011 and 2012 after joining from Western Province.
His career was hampered by injuries before getting a lifeline at the Brumbies this year. However, a lack of game time at the Australian side has seen Hoffmann return to the Sharks ahead of the Currie Cup season.
The Brumbies believe they can be the first Super Rugby team to tap into the American market, with coach Stephen Larkham to go on a research mission to the US to evaluate untouched talent at universities.
The two-time champions are setting up a “USA Brumbies” academy system based at Arizona State University. Potential recruits will train in the US with the aim of earning a Super Rugby spot.
Larkham and commercial academy manager Nick Leah will fly to the US in September for camps in New Jersey, Minnesota and Arizona to find the best talent for the program.
It’s part of an academy relationship the Brumbies have set up with international teams, which already includes the Papua New Guinea national side and Japanese team Kubota.
He has played just five games in two seasons, but the ACT Brumbies are keen to start negotiations with injured Wallabies captain David Pocock to keep him in Canberra beyond next year’s World Cup.
The Brumbies are already planning for the future just days after being bundled out of Super Rugby title contention by the Waratahs.
Coach Stephen Larkham revealed his intent to start negotiations with Pocock, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe, whose contracts expire at the end of next season.
Larkham also hopes to have his back-room staff finalised in the next month, including appointing another assistant coach with breakdown expertise to replace director of rugby Laurie Fisher and a team manager.
The Sharks have landed the services of former Baby Bok Lionel Cronjé.
Cronjé, 25, represented the Brumbies this past season but according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s website, the utility back has signed a two-year deal with the Durban-based Sharks.
He will join them before the start of this year’s Currie Cup competition.
We’ve got the Super Rugby final we wanted as a tantalising entree to the Bledisloe Cup.
Through the whims of the skewed draw, the Crusaders and Waratahs bypassed each other in the regular season but will slug it out on Saturday for the title as the best side in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Tahs have lost 11 on the bounce against the Crusaders since 2004 yet this season there is more spine about them and more collective heat they can generate although that could be more of the hot air which is generated in the guise of objectivity across the Ditch.
Next week’s Super Rugby Final in Sydney will be about more than just the Super Rugby trophy, it will be a precursor to The Rugby Championship as well.
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks in Sydney on 16 August in what could be a deciding match to determine who will win The Rugby Championship crown for 2014.
The Waratahs have earned a home final beating the Brumbies in the semi final. The Crusaders will travel to Sydney to contest for the Super Rugby title.
The NSW Waratahs’ history-making season is one step from completion with the Super Rugby title favourites hosting the final for the first time after eliminating the ACT Brumbies with a convincing 26-8 semifinal victory at Allianz Stadium tonight.
An eighth consecutive win in 2014 underscored the Waratahs prospects of claiming their first title, though the team that thwarted that ambition in the 2005 and 2008 finals stands in their way.
Waratahs (11) 26 / 8 (8) Brumbies (Final Score)
The Waratahs and Brumbies did battle in the other Semi-Final of Super Rugby 2014 at
Allianz Stadium, Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
It is the Semi-Finals of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Semi-Final games in this Round, as all the other 11 teams have now been dispatched. Both games take place on Saturday 27 July 2014.
It is crunch time, as only the winners advance to the Final on 2 August 2014.
The Crusaders and Waratahs host the Semi-Finals, as top contenders on the Combined Super Rugby Log. The challengers are the Cell C Sharks and the Brumbies, who have had to travel in order to see if they can advance against strong home ground advantage, for the Final.
Only 3 Super Rugby games for 2014 remain!
Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.
Let the games continue….
Rugby-Talk’s SuperBru competition for the 2014 Super Rugby tournament is drawing to a close with only three matches remaining.
In last week’s Qualifying rounds JohnR earned the yellow cap with a solid 5 pointer moving him up 12 places to 31st. Carol still leads the pack of hungry wolves chasing at her heels, but refuses to relinquish her coveted 1st spot. Sharks_Lover is still a close second, with less than a point separating the two.
Both Winston Champ and Charo at 3 and 4 respectively have fallen slightly off the pace, with 3,5 and 5,2 points separating them from Carol.
Before making those SuperBru predictions, let’s have a look at some picks, tips and predictions first.
It’S the biggest Down Under derby in 12 years — but is the Waratahs vs Brumbies rivalry the biggest in Australian rugby full stop?
NSW vs Queensland has long been the marquee match-up for Aussie outfits, and with 140 years of tradition to back it up it’s little wonder.
But the battle between the Tahs and their “little brother” from down the road in the ACT might have trumped it in recent times.
Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore has the unique experience of playing the Waratahs both as a Reds player (from 2003-08) and now with the Brumbies.
Way back in 2009, when he had just arrived in Canberra, Moore observed of the Tahs-Brumbies enmity that: “it’s equally as big as the Queensland-NSW rivalry.”
And Wallabies great Stephen Larkham, a Brumbies legend as a player and well on his way to becoming one as a coach, reckons it’s gone even beyond equal status.
Ewen McKenzie says an Australian side winning the Super Rugby crown would be ”as good as it gets” for the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup prospects.
The Waratahs and Brumbies go head to head in a blockbuster semi-final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, with the winners likely to take on New Zealand superpowers, the Crusaders, in the August 2 championship decider.
The Wallabies tackle the All Blacks two weeks later in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.
“Form and confidence, they’re good attributes to have,” McKenzie said after announcing his 32-man Rugby Championship squad yesterday.
“If you’re out there beating your opponents and winning consistently – and that’s what these teams have been doing – and the Wallabies have been doing the same thing.”
Waratahs mascot Tah Man has weighed into the controversy over Brumby Jack’s presence at the Super Rugby semi-final, declaring Allianz Stadium a showpony-free zone this weekend.
As the Brumbies and Waratahs tried desperately to defuse the furore surrounding Brumby Jack’s sideline “ban”, the high-strung NSW mascot could not help fanning the fire. “I love animals and horses but I’m not a fan of showponies,” Tah Man told Fairfax Media.
The Waratahs – Brumbies Super Rugby Semi-Final showdown has been robbed of one of its marquee match-ups, with reports that Brumby Jack has been “banned” from Saturday night’s encounter.
The iconic Brumbies mascot has, according to the Canberra Times, been denied a request to strut his stuff on the field and will instead have to be content with a seat alongside Brumbies supporters in the Allianz Stadium stands.
For all the talk of players leaving Australian shores, the costliest exit may be Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher, who is bound for Gloucester next year. The Brumbies’ lineout, drive, scrum and defence against the relatively new Chiefs tactic of setting up mauls in general play were the difference in an outstanding qualifying final of tiny margins on Saturday. Not only that, but Fisher worked lineout miracles with emergency hooker Ruaidhri Murphy in the few short weeks since he understandably struggled against the Waratahs. Murphy was like Phil Taylor with his arrows when he came on for the closing stages, even hitting Ben Mowen at the tail of one set-piece. Brilliant work
We don’t always get to hear much about our top-level coaches these days, certainly not much beyond the usual ‘this bloke is rubbish’/’this bloke’s a genius’ debate, but often there are stories and insight to be provided that goes well beyond the standard clichés.
The Waratahs and Crusaders will be heavily favoured to advance to a Sydney final, but the two Vodacom Super Rugby play-off qualifiers played this weekend did breathe some much needed life into a competition that is sometimes accused of being too predictable.
As expected, the home teams did advance to next week’s round of semifinals, but it was a close run thing in both Canberra and Durban. More than that, the quality of rugby produced, and the entertainment value, was just what the doctor would have ordered if the goal of a medical consultation was to find out what could increase interest for the remaining two weeks.
Of the two winning teams, the Brumbies and the Sharks, it is the former who should go into the semifinals feeling most upbeat. They relaxed when they thought they had the game won and the Chiefs showed their championship qualities one last time before eventually conceding their run of success had come to an end by launching a brave, gutsy and classy fightback.
Once condemned to playing catch-up, the Chiefs produced some of their best rugby in a while, and may well have won had they shown just a bit of temperance in their commitment to attack, for it was their tendency to concede penalties in their own half by trying to play too much rugby there that cost them the game.