Crunch time for Reds and Brumbies
Are the Reds and Brumbies looking forward to another tough week for the Australian Conference?PT0M0S 620 349
The ACT Brumbies' form may have wavered over the past month but Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has put faith in the Australian-conference leaders and invite a large chunk of the squad to a British and Irish Lions logistics camp.
Eleven Brumbies were named in the initial 30-man squad, including bolters Scott Sio and Fotu Auelua.
Duo Sio and Auelua's rise is even more impressive given they've had limited chances in the Brumbies' starting XV this season and have made their impacts from the bench.
Fotu Auelua is tipped to make a 30-man Wallabies squad that will help decide the team to face the British and Irish Lions. Photo: Getty Images
The other Brumbies named are incumbents Pat McCabe, Ben Alexander and Stephen Moore, along with Dan Palmer, Nic White, Joseph Tomane, Christian Lealiifano, Ben Mowen and Jesse Mogg.
Sio has emerged as one of the most talented front-rowers in Australia and has forced his way into the Brumbies' prop rotation with Wallabies Alexander and Palmer.
The 21-year-old got a chance to impress off the bench in round two and told The Canberra Times his goal for the season was to make the Wallabies squad.
Scott Sio is another likely bolter for the squad. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Now he's on the verge of achieving that after his strong scrummaging and high work rate around the field caught the eye of Test selectors.
Auelua has had to bide his time on the bench, alternating with Brumbies captain Ben Mowen for the starting No8 jersey.
But whenever the Samoan powerhouse gets on the field he leaves a path of destruction.
Auelua returned to Australia last year after spending his career in France and Japan.
Despite being 29 years old he still has limited Super Rugby experience, but he's shown his big enough and strong enough to enter the international arena.
Mowen has also been rewarded by adding dynamic punch to his game in the off season.
His leadership has played a crucial role in guiding the Brumbies to the top of the ladder and the Australian conference.
The Brumbies' 11 representatives is the highest of any Australian franchise.
It's a stark contrast to the minimal representation they had when Jake White took over the coaching reins at the end of the 2011 season.
When the Brumbies began their revival, Alexander, Moore and McCabe were the only Test players in the 35-man squad.
However, after winning their first four games and establishing a dominance in the Australian conference, individuals are starting to be rewarded for team success.
Their immediate focus will be on toppling the win-less Otago Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday night.
Despite a blistering start to the year, the Brumbies have struggled with inconsistency over the past month with four brutal matches against South African opponents.
They got through relatively unscathed, winning two, suffering their first loss and having to settle for a draw against competition newcomers the Southern Kings.