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Brumbies

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Stephen Larkham

Stephen Larkham

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.

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Long road taken: Josh Mann-Rea to answer Wallabies S.O.S.

Long road taken: Josh Mann-Rea to answer Wallabies S.O.S.

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.

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Jarrad Butler

Brumbies player of the year Jarrad Butler.

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.

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore will take over as Brumbies captain in 2015.

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.

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Pat McCabe

Wallaby Pat McCabe returns from New Zealand.

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.

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Rory Arnold

Brumbies recruit Rory Arnold, the tallest player in Super Rugby.

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.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper playing for the Brumbies, before White deemed him surplus to requirements.

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.

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Conrad Hoffmann

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.

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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.

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Stephen Larkham

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham

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.

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Lionel Cronjé

Lionel Cronjé

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.

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Nick Phipps

Nick Phipps of the Waratahs was outstanding on cover defence.

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.

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Jacques Potgieter

SLIPPING THE DEFENCE: Lock Jacques Potgieter makes a break for the Waratahs during their 26-8 Super Rugby Semi-Final victory over the Brumbies

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.

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Super RugbyIt 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….

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SuperBruSuper RugbyRugby-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.

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WaratahsBrumbiesIt’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.

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie: Wallabies coach says an Australian team winning the Super Rugby title would be a real positive for his side’s Bledisloe Cup prospects

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.”

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Brumbu Jack

Brumby Jack, merely a show pony, says Tah Man

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.

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Tah Man

Tah Man will have the Allianz Stadium sidelines to himself

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.

 

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Laurie Fisher

Laurie Fisher will move to the Aviva Premiership to coach Gloucester this season

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.

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CrusadersCell C SharksThe 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.

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Henry Speight

Henry Speight, who was deemed “not good enough” for the Chiefs, is proving all wrong

Brumbies excitement machine Henry Speight didn’t just leave the Chiefs lamenting a qualifying finals loss.

He left their coach Dave Rennie ruing the one “that got away” after his side’s dream of a Super Rugby three-peat came to a crashing end at Canberra Stadium.

And the Chiefs only have themselves to blame.

That’s because Speight not only played for Hamilton Boys High School, but went on to represent the Waikato provincial team – the Chiefs’ feeder club.

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Ben Mowen

Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen in action

BrumbiesACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen has lauded the club’s courageous Super Rugby finals win against the Waikato Chiefs as the best performance of the past three years.

But Mowen, the most-capped skipper in Brumbies history, insists the ACT side can improve on its epic eight-try win which ended the Chiefs’ two-year reign as Super Rugby champions.

The Brumbies held on for a cliffhanger 32-30 triumph at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night, setting up a likely week-two finals clash against arch rivals the NSW Waratahs next weekend.

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Rod Macqueen

For the Brumbies to win, they need to play “Macqueenball”

They say in sports you have to lose a grand final before you win one. That is the prospect, anyway, facing the ACT Brumbies as they go into a successive Super Rugby finals campaign on Saturday night.

The team they play, the Chiefs, defeated them in the 2013 grand final at Hamilton. It took the All Blacks 24 years to understand that finals rugby is an entirely different ball game from pool-round rugby. After the All Blacks lost in the quarter-finals to France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the coaching staff did some deep thinking into how to play finals rugby.

What they discovered is that they needed to have total clarity on how to play each specific final. And they had to have contingency plans for coping with unforeseeable events. The best contingency plan is to score enough points before trouble arrives, as it did for the Brumbies in the last 20 minutes of their final against the Chiefs.

Where the Brumbies need clarity in their qualifying final is knowing whether to play “Jakeball” or “Macqueenball”.

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Super RugbyIt is the Play-Off Round of Super Rugby 2014 this weekend! We have only the 2 Play-Off games in this Round, as all teams below Log position 6 has now been dispatched and the Top 2 teams have a nice rest weekend, with both games on Saturday.

This is the final crunch to sort the men from the boys, to sort the teams going forward into the Semi-Finals.

The Waratahs and Crusaders sit comfortably at the Top of the table and the Brumbies, Chiefs, Cell C Sharks and Highlanders compete in this Round.

It is winners take all in these Play-Off games, the losers joing the other 9 Teams who have already been dispatched to also-ran’s.

Bonus points for tries and losses within 7 now does not matter anymore, all that is needed is a win.

Let the games continue….

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BrumbiesThe Super Rugby Qualifying Rounds kick off in Canberra on Saturday morning SA time when the ACT Brumbies hosts the current champions, the Chiefs.  The Brumbies ended 4th on the combined Super Rugby log and the Chiefs 5th.

Robbie Coleman returns to the Brumbies starting side on Saturday when his team takes on the Chiefs in their Super Rugby Qualifier at GIO Stadium. Coleman’s elevation to the starting side shifts Clyde Rathbone out of the matchday 23, with rookie prop Allan Alaalatoa’s inclusion on the bench the only other change to last week’s squad.

With seven tries to his name in 2014, Coleman leads the Brumbies try-scoring tally alongside his fellow-back-three member, Jesse Mogg. It’s been a big season for the Brumbies outside backs, with Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Pat McCabe, Mogg and Coleman combining for a total of 22 five-pointers.

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Jessie Mogg

Jessie Mogg has regained his starting role for the Brumbies after being dropped earlier this season

Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg is using his Super Rugby axing to reignite his passion, admitting he took his position in the team for granted after being the first-choice No.15 for more than two years.

Mogg was benched for the Brumbies’ clash against the Melbourne Rebels in June, with coach Stephen Larkham opting to promote Wallabies warrior Pat McCabe to the starting XV.

But Mogg has regained his fullback jersey after McCabe was injured while on Wallabies duty, and the Wests speedster says being dropped was the wake-up call he needed to help the Brumbies’ charge to the championship.

“It was about me turning things around and working a little bit harder,” he said. “I’ve come back and played solid over the last two weeks, I’ll look to build on that into the finals series.”

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Henry Speight and Joe Tomane

For ACT Brumbies wingers Henry Speight and Joe Tomane, there is a lot to be said for the do, not the least of which is personal comfort

Jake White used to hate the afro hairstyle, insisting that at least one of the ”fro bros” keep things short and tidy.

But for ACT Brumbies wingers Henry Speight and Joe Tomane, there is a lot to be said for the do, not the least of which is personal comfort.

“It’s give and take; you lose a bit of speed with the fro, but you get a lot of comfort,” Speight said.

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BrumbiesChiefsThe Brumbies are determined to avoid getting into a ‘brutal arm-wrestle’ with the two-time defending champion Chiefs.

The two sides meet in Canberra on Saturday in the first match of the 2014 Super Rugby play-offs, a preliminary qualifier.

Having found some late-season form – with victories over the Blues (11-8 this past weekend) and Hurricanes (24-16 the week before) – the Chiefs muscled their way from ninth to fifth on the table in the past fortnight.

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Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh

Sanzar has announced that South Africa’s Craig Joubert and Steve Walsh from Australia will referee the two Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers this weekend.

Joubert will be the man in the middle in Canberra, where the Brumbies host the Chiefs, while Walsh will be in action in Durban in the second Qualifier between the Cell C Sharks and the Highlanders.

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imageThe Brumbies will have a chance to avenge their defeat in the Super Rugby Final last year when they face defending champions Chiefs next week.

Under the stewardship of current Sharks coach Jake White, the Brumbies went down in Hamilton to fall short of claiming their third Super Rugby title last year.

Now under the guidance of former Wallabies flyhalf and Brumbies legend Stephen Larkham, the Canberra side comes into the match with a fair maount of confidence given their convincing win over the Force in the last round.

Ben Mowen will become the Brumbies’ most-capped skipper in what might also be his final game for the franchise given that he is heading to France to play for Montpellier.

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