Rugby Union


Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua focus on ACT Brumbies over Wallabies

PRETORIA: ACT Brumbies playmaking duo Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua will put Wallabies selection talks on hold to focus on their Super Rugby goals and saving the club's finals hopes.

Lealiifano and Toomua are in a direct battle for the Wallabies No.12 jersey for the three-Test series against France in June.

The duo also faces stiff competition from firing NSW Waratahs combination Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley.

But after the Brumbies suffered a horror 44-23 loss to the Pretoria Bulls, Lealiifano insisted Test selection was not on the radar.

"The both of us only have a focus on the Brumbies, beating the [Melbourne] Rebels [on Saturday] and playing good footy going into the break," he said.

"Obviously it's good that we're pushing each other, but we're not going to talk about it. Wallabies selection was good news for guys that were in there, but the sole focus was the game ... it wasn't a distraction."


The Brumbies had 11 players named in the 36-man Wallabies training group for the series against France, including five forwards.

But they looked out of their depth against the fired-up Bulls, giving away scrum penalties, losing the physical contest around the field and turning over possession at the lineout.

The Brumbies' scrum has been put under pressure in the past two weeks and has struggled with inconsistent refereeing of the set piece.

The struggles at the scrum and lineout has crippled any momentum for the backline, resulting in no room to move in attack and limited chances to score.

Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher admitted the set-piece struggles were concerning.

"There are obviously things we need to work on. Our game probably relies on set-piece rugby first and foremost to get momentum and we weren't able to deliver that," Fisher said.

"It was concerning that we weren't able to win ... but the Bulls were playing for their season. We weren't up to it, but it's done and we have to win our next three games."

Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said one-on-one efforts were letting the team down.

"We've got to work on discipline. At the moment it's not our structure that's letting us down, it's our one-on-one efforts and if you miss that, players at this level score tries off the back of it,'' Mowen said.

Winger Henry Speight was by far the Brumbies' best player and threatened the Bulls' defence every time he touched the ball.

Lealiifano said the rest of the backline had to find a way to have an impact.

"We pride ourselves on a great set piece getting us good ball, but we're disappointed as a back line because if we're not getting that, we need to create opportunities ourselves," Lealiifano said.

"We're just off in that area, but you've got to find ways to get out of it."