Rugby Union

ACT Brumbies back after off-season of World Cups, African adventures and player movement

It's been an off-season of contract movement, weddings, engagements, African training tours and player speculation, but the ACT Brumbies say nothing will distract them from their Super Rugby goals.

The Brumbies returned to training on Monday, including their Wallabies World Cup representatives, for the first time as a full squad since their finals exit almost seven months ago.

Brumbies captain Stephen Moore, David Pocock and Scott Fardy are back at training after an eventful off-season.
Brumbies captain Stephen Moore, David Pocock and Scott Fardy are back at training after an eventful off-season. Photo: Graham Tidy

In that time skipper Stephen Moore has signed a deal to join the Queensland Reds, Matt Toomua married dual international Ellyse Perry and David Pocock went on an African safari with a twist.

All of that is now being pushed to the past as they attempt to turn three consecutive seasons in the finals into a drought-breaking title.

David Pocock training in Zimbabwe in the Brumbies' off-season
David Pocock training in Zimbabwe in the Brumbies' off-season Photo: Instagram

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham put his players through a morning session before sending them on to a bus and away to Thredbo for a three-day intensive camp.

For Wallabies flanker Scott Fardy, it's a chance to get the wheels turning again after the disappointment of losing the World Cup final to New Zealand.

Fardy had more than 100 stitches during the Wallabies' international season, earning a reputation as a Test warrior who put his body on the line in every game.

"I just cut easy ... it's just poor technique. There's nothing hard about it, I'm just not very coordinated, lead with my head too much and end up getting stitches," Fardy grinned.

"Once you cut that area of your head, it just keeps cutting. Sometimes it makes a good picture for people, but I don't think anything of it.

"I stepped away from the game for a while [after the World Cup], which was great. As soon as you look back you know how close you were to getting that World Cup. We wanted to win the World Cup and we didn't get it.

Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy had more than 100 stitches after his games for the Wallabies last year.
Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy had more than 100 stitches after his games for the Wallabies last year. Photo: Graham Tidy

"There's a big season of 15 Tests for the Wallabies. But first and foremost you have to play well in Super Rugby and that's what we'll be doing at the Brumbies and I'm sure all of the provinces will be ripping in doing the same.

"I've wanted to [win Super Rugby] since I got to Canberra. Everyone has that goal, it doesn't change for anyone."

Larkham is working with Christian Lealiifano, Pocock and Scott Sio to lock in their futures and it is hoped some deals can be finalised before the opening game on February 26.

The Brumbies are being touted as one of the early title contenders given they will boast up to 12 internationals in their starting XV when the season begins.

There's also a host of players trying to force their way into the regular rotation.

Lock Blake Enever stepped up last year to replace Sam Carter in the charge to the finals and showed he's got what it takes to handle the Super Rugby cauldron.

"I've set the goal to start games and play a lot of footy this season. I look forward to being a strong part of the team and putting my hand up for selection," Enever said.

"Having those good players in the same position makes us work harder and better players. I want to aspire to be a Wallaby as well. When it comes to selection, hopefully we make it a headache for the coaches."

Larkham sent his players on a trek up Mt Kosciuszko on their training camp last year and it won't get any easier when they go back for round two.

The Brumbies start their season against the Wellington Hurricanes on February 26.