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ACT survives first hit-out unscathed

Clyde Rathbone scores against the Western Force in Darwin.

Clyde Rathbone scores against the Western Force in Darwin. Photo: Leithal Photos

THE ACT Brumbies have erased the ''injury demons'' and insist they are mentally tougher as they prepare to launch their Super Rugby season in 13 days.

The Brumbies secured a narrow win over the Western Force in Darwin on Friday night - their only pre-season trial against a Super Rugby opponent.

But after 20 off-season operations to the squad's most influential players, coach Jake White said his team can put its injury woes in the past and focus on the opening round of the season on February 16.

Christian Lealiifano, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Clyde Rathbone and Henry Speight are just a few of the players who made successful comebacks in the tight pre-season victory.

They all got through unscathed with Toomua and Rathbone - who has returned to Super Rugby after retiring in 2009 and battling depression - both scoring tries.

''We had 20 operations last year and all of those boys have come through their first hit-out good and fresh,'' White said.

''One can always be critical and I would have liked to finish more [scoring] opportunities we had against the Force. But psychologically that game is a massive boost for the guys coming back from injuries and they can just focus on moving forward and preparing for the game against the [Queensland] Reds in round one.''

The Brumbies coaching staff flew to Toowoomba on Saturday to watch the Reds play a trial match against the Auckland Blues.

White used his full-strength squad against the Force for the first half, including new recruit David Pocock. Toomua and Lealiifano were back as the flyhalf-inside centre combination after both suffered season-ending injuries last year.

The Brumbies will play one more warm-up match against an ACT XV side on Friday at Viking Park.

Almost all of White's squad is available for selection with only Pat McCabe (neck) and Josh Mann-Rea (knee) out of contention for the opening few rounds.

Joseph Tomane has recovered from a hamstring injury and Colby Faingaa will be given another chance to impress after being eased back into action.

For Toomua and Lealiifano, the match against the Force gave them a chance to get rid of any pre-season nerves.

''I think this first game was a big one, there was such a long wait [to play again] that I was keen to get out there and just finally do something,'' Toomua said.

''I don't know if you call them demons, but just to get a few things out of your head and get going again, it's a confidence booster for next week and ultimately the Reds.''



ACT BRUMBIES 20 (Matt Toomua, Clyde Rathbone tries; Christian Lealiifano 2 pens, 2 cons) bt WESTERN FORCE 18 (Hugh McMeniman, Junior Rasolea tries; Sias Ebersohn 2 pens, con).

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
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SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
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IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
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TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
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NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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