JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Alexander gives Brumbies the right attitude for altitude


Jon Tuxworth

Brumbies prop Ben Alexander prepares to tackle Gurthro Steenkamp of Bulls the last time the teams met at Loftus Versfeld ...

Brumbies prop Ben Alexander prepares to tackle Gurthro Steenkamp of Bulls the last time the teams met at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on February 20, 2010. Photo: GETTY IMAGES Photo:

ACT Brumbies prop Ben Alexander has told his youthful outfit to embrace the physical and mental test of playing at altitude against the Bulls at Pretoria this Sunday.

Alexander is one of the few Brumbies who have experienced the suffocating effects of playing above sea level against one of Super Rugby's heavyweights.

He is looking forward to witnessing how the majority of his teammates handle their first taste of altitude football.

The Brumbies led the Bulls 21-20 at half-time in their last match at Loftus Versfeld early in the 2010 season, before being overrun in the second half to lose 50-32.

''It [playing at altitude] definitely hurts the lungs and you think maybe you're not as fit as you think you are, but if you can just push through the initial shock and keep pushing through, generally you'll be all right,'' Alexander said yesterday.

''This is the biggest game the Brumbies have had for quite a few years, and the biggest game in a lot of guys' careers to date, and part of that is playing at altitude for the first time.

''If they can mentally push past it, we'll be fine, but we'll just have to wait and see.''

In an attempt to adjust to the thinner oxygen levels, the Brumbies will stray from tradition and base themselves in the highveldt.

In previous years the Brumbies have stayed at the more comfortable coastal regions, before heading to higher ground.

Alexander said coach Jake White, preparing for his first match with the Brumbies in his homeland, had a few tricks up his sleeve.

''Jake's mapped out two weeks on the highveldt, where the previous Brumbies coaches may have spent time down the coast and headed up,'' Alexander said.

''He's picked out a few spots to take us to do a few things, like go on safari.

''That's Jake's influence already, keeping us on the highveldt rather than heading down to the nicer places like Durban and Cape Town.''

The Brumbies are brimming with confidence after their 37-6 thrashing of the Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium last weekend. It was their fourth win in seven matches, and allowed them to retain a narrow lead atop the Australian conference.

Facing the Bulls on enemy territory in front of a hostile crowd is a much tougher proposition.

Alexander said the Brumbies had identified the Rebels match as the start of the most crucial month in their season. After the Bulls they face the Lions in Johannesburg, before a tough home assignment against fierce rival the NSW Waratahs.

''Jake's spoken about how this month will dictate where we finish,'' Alexander said.

''This [South Africa] trip is half of that month and it's absolutely vital we come away with wins and points.

''One thing we've done really well so far is every game we've picked up at least one bonus point and that's kept us on top of the log.

''We've fought for everything we've got and that will give the boys a lot of confidence we can play for 80 minutes and there's good ticker in this team. We'll keep fighting and scrapping for every point.''


Super Rugby round nine: Pretoria Bulls v ACT Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld, 3.10am.

TV time: Live on Fox Sports 2.

HuffPost Australia

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
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
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
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
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
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
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
View All Fixtures
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
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
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
View All Fixtures
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
View all
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
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers