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Brumbies have cattle to break drought

Andrew Smith says the Brumbies have the team to win the Super Rugby title.

Andrew Smith says the Brumbies have the team to win the Super Rugby title. Photo: Colleen Petch

Breaking a nine-year finals drought won't cut it for the ACT Brumbies - they're determined to bring the Super Rugby trophy back to Canberra for the first time since 2004.

Still stinging from letting a play-off spot slip through their fingers in the final game of last season, the Brumbies have set themselves the lofty goal of not only winning the Australian conference but also taking out the southern hemisphere's biggest prize in provincial rugby.

The Brumbies kick-off their campaign in less than a fortnight when they host the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on February 16.

With South African World Cup-winning coach Jake White entering his second season in charge and the addition of Wallabies captain David Pocock and former international Clyde Rathbone to the playing roster, outside centre Andrew Smith sees no reason why the Brumbies can't mix it with the best in the competition.

''That [the title] is what we're aiming for and I think we've got the squad to do it,'' Smith said. ''This is the year we're going to try to have a good crack at it. There's a lot of belief in the squad from last year, so there's a good feeling in the team.''

The Brumbies got valuable game time into several of their returning stars in Friday night's 20-18 win over the Western Force in Darwin.

The score was largely irrelevant as key playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano made their first appearances since season-ending injuries last year.

There were also encouraging debuts for highly touted recruits Pocock and Rathbone, the 31-year-old crossing for a try in his first game since retiring in 2009 and battling depression. The Brumbies round out preparations with a match against an ACT XV at Viking Park on Friday.

Rugby league convert Joseph Tomane is expected to play after recovering from a hamstring injury and will resume his strong combination with Smith, who was one of the mainstays last season. The under-rated 28-year-old played every game and was one of the Brumbies' most solid contributors, but enters his fourth season not knowing what his future is beyond this year.

Smith is off-contract at the end of the season and hasn't ruled out continuing his career abroad. ''I'm always looking to stay in Canberra, we've got a good set-up here and are building something special. Staying another year or so is definitely an option, but so is overseas, so I'm not sure at this stage,'' he said.

FRIDAY

ACT Brumbies v ACT XV at Viking Park, 7pm.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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