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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.''

 

AT A GLANCE

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).

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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