Brumbies 'switched on' for Lions
SUPER RUGBY INTERVIEW: The Brumbies looks set to welcome back some of their big guns when the Lions arrive in Canberra for a Round Nine encounter on Saturday.
Top of that list is Wallaby stalwart David Pocock, who looks set to be finally cleared after missing the last few weeks with a calf strain.
Also set to return is prop Allan Alaalatoa (wrist).
The Brumbies have been dogged by injuries so far this year.
Pocock, Alaalatoa, Toni Pulu, Henry Speight, Sam Carter and Rob Valetini, all regular starters, have been forced to miss part of the season.
It has affected the team’s ability to build continuity, which has also been impacted by a Rugby Australia-driven Wallabies rotation policy for key players.
The Brumbies’ only wins this year have been in Canberra, beating the Chiefs and the Waratahs.
Last week the Brumbies held out the Crusaders for 40 minutes in Christchurch, leading 7-0 after a tense opening half.
A strong second half from the Crusaders saw them race to a 36-14 win, the home side running in six tries in the second stanza.
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Brumbies fullback Tom Banks said that after a ‘hard’ review, they are confident building up to their encounter with the Lions.
“They love to play wide,” Banks said, when asked what they expect the Lions to bring to the game.
“We have to be switched on for the entire game.”
He said one of their main ‘work-ons’ is to keep their composure.
“That period after half-time, we really need to knuckle down and finish the game strong.”
The Brumbies are looking forward to playing in Canberra again, after away losses to the Reds and Crusaders.
“We haven’t been home in a while, so everyone is looking forward to it,” Banks said.
“I think this next period is going to be really big for us and having some of the boys back,” he said of their games against the Lions this week, the Stormers (in Cape Town) and the Jaguares (in Buenos Aires).
“They’ve been rested and they’ll be raring to go.”
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar will name his team on Thursday.