Breakdown service to be given boost
Brumbies' captain's run, AAMI Park
Nic White passes the ball. Photo: Getty Images
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen says his team needs to be more ruthless at the breakdown to secure back-to-back wins to start the Super Rugby season.
While they are just one game into the campaign, coach Jake White has declared the clash with the Melbourne Rebels as a must-win contest.
The Brumbies will play the Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night aiming to score victories in the opening two rounds before the bye next week.
They successfully fended off a brutal attack at the ruck from the Queensland Reds last weekend.
While they boast one of the world's best openside flankers in David Pocock, Mowen said the Brumbies' work at the breakdown would be critical in stopping star Rebels duo Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor.
''Our wide breakdown work wasn't at the standard we expect from ourselves last week,'' Mowen said.
''It's about polishing a few things here and there … it was hard because the Reds were so ill-disciplined and [the play was slow]. But I think we're building along nicely, you don't expect to be on fire in round one. Now it's just about taking it to the next level.''
White has made minimal changes for the match. Henry Speight has been ruled out with a rib injury, allowing Joseph Tomane to join the starting side on the wing and Tevita Kuridrani to be added to the bench.
The only other change is Ruaidhri Murphy given an extra week to manage a groin problem, with Scott Sio the reserve prop.
The Rebels have only beaten the Brumbies once in their two Super Rugby seasons. But that victory started the Brumbies on a dark path to the worst campaign in their history.
White is determined to ensure that doesn't happen again. After beating the Reds for the first time in his tenure last week, clashes against the Rebels and the Waratahs on March 9 will be crucial to the Brumbies' hopes of topping the Australian conference.
''There's no reason why we shouldn't win,'' White said.
''People have been talking about us having all our eggs in one basket for the game against the Reds in round one, but that's not true.
''We knew the Reds would be tough … but we've never taken our eye off that we had a two-game block before the first bye. We will never underestimate the Rebels.''
Meanwhile, Beale says he ''loves'' playing with the Rebels but the Wallabies star is not ready to publicly commit his future to the team.
The Rebels caused a stir in the rugby community when they announced midway through 2011 they had snared Beale from NSW.
Since moving to five-eighth during his first season at the club last year, Beale has been among the most impressive players for the Rebels.
There has been speculation he could head back to the Waratahs at the end of this season, which would be a huge blow for the Rebels.
''I've got a leadership role … and my focus is purely on rugby at the moment,'' he said. with Stathi Paxinos