Brumbies travelling swimmingly but Sharks are circling
Ben Alexander scores a try in the Brumbies' thumping of the Reds. Photo: Getty Images
It would have taken the most optimistic of Brumbies fans to say that they would be on top of the Australian conference this early on in the competition. And now distant observers are starting to take note of this team of alleged 'nobodys'. The team have been quietly going about their work and are now reaping the rewards of a tough pre-season where strength and conditioning staff are looked upon less than favourably by the playing squad.
Last weeks win over the previously undefeated Highlanders was a throwback to yesteryear where the fans made themselves heard throughout the game. It has been some time since the cry of 'Brumbies' has been chanted by the crowd and was one of the differences in the end as our boys hung on for a close win.
The competition so far has been very close and taking last week as an example, six of the seven matches were decided by less than seven points and the result hung in the balance right up until final whistle and superior conditioning is coming into play against fatigued teams.
Just like on National Geographic this week is Shark week when the Brumbies take on the Durban based side.The Sharks had a close loss against the Waratahs and will smell blood in the water as they try and get only their second ever win in Canberra. The Sharks have never stood a chance in Canberra, apart from their only win in 1998, and were defeated in the 2001 final 36-6 to give the Brumbies the first of their two Super Rugby titles.
Recently on pay TV, there was a replay of a famous match against the Sharks at Manuka Oval from 1996 where local product Joe Roff crossed for four tries himself. And on the topic of try scoring, it's time that Ben Alexander was due to cross the chalk for his first of the season. The big man has not scored for a few games and will be lurking with intent to get a five pointer against the white pointers.
The Sharks have brought in some French flair at fly-half in Frederic Michalak but they will need more than croissants and baguettes if they are to leave Canberra Stadium with a win. Canberra Stadium is starting to turn into the fortress it once was and it needs to be a place that visiting teams dread to step foot near.
There are suggestions that the crowd could top 18,000 on Saturday night and with the deal for University of Canberra student of match tickets for $5 continuing, fans should come and make themselves heard as the Brumbies win and stay on top of the Australian conference.
Steve's blogs can also be found at Green and Gold Rugby.