Rotation to get a run at Brumbies
Rotation policies have caused plenty of consternation for Australia's cricketers and fans over the summer but the Brumbies haven't been turned off.
Content with the depth in their Super Rugby squad, Brumbies backs coach Stephen Larkham said in Canberra on Wednesday they have the luxury of resting players this season.
Ironically, it was former Brumbies inside back Pat Howard who sparked fierce debate over the contentious rotation policy after implementing the strategy in his role as Cricket Australia high performance manager.
Even though only three Brumbies toured Europe with the Wallabies at the end of last year and Pat McCabe being the only injury concern heading into round one against Queensland in Canberra on February 16, Larkham was undeterred.
"For the coaches, we've got a bit of a headache at the moment," said Larkham ahead of Friday's final trial against an ACT XV.
"We've got too many guys to fit into the puzzle.
"There would be three top-line players who are going to miss out next week (against the Reds).
"It's going to be tough for the coaches to make those selections.
"We'll be rotating players."
Understandably, the Jake White-coached team might have been motivated to look at the management of their squad after last year's near-miss.
Despite injuries blighting their campaign, only a shock last-round loss to the woeful Blues resulted in the Reds edging them out of the Super Rugby playoffs.
But utility backs Matt Toomua (knee) and Christian Lealiifano (ankle) have returned from season-ending injuries last year, one-Test Wallabies winger Joe Tomane is fit after eight months out with a number of leg injuries and Clyde Rathbone is vying for a wing spot after a well-documented return following his 2009 retirement.
Five-eighth Zack Holmes and fullback Jesse Mogg are a strong chance to retain their spots after impressive debut seasons, outside centre Andrew Smith played every game in 2012 and Henry Speight has proven a consistent performer.
Robbie Coleman is a game-breaking young utility while halfback Nic White faces tough competition from Ian Prior and former Western Force No.9 Mark Swanepoel.
"Genuinely, we've got depth. We've got good talent now to rotate players," said Larkham.
"And I think that's going to become part of our game this season that the guys and the coaches are going to have to get used to."
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