Date: July 02 2012
The ACT Brumbies have been warned against ''ladder watching'' as they chase a drought-breaking finals berth in the last two rounds of the Super Rugby season.
But vice-captain Stephen Moore is adamant the young Brumbies won't be distracted by a rampaging Queensland Reds or the battle for valuable points in the race to the playoffs.
The Brumbies restored their five-point buffer over the Reds at the top of the Australian conference with a 28-17 win against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night. They play the NSW Waratahs in Sydney this weekend before finishing their regular season against the Auckland Blues at Canberra Stadium on July 14.
If they win both matches, the Brumbies will be guaranteed a place in the finals for the first time since 2004. But a loss opens the door for the Reds, which host both the Otago Highlanders and Waratahs, to take over at the top.
''We want to win our last two games and it's nothing different to the rest of the season,'' Moore said.
''We can still control our own destiny and that's what [coach] Jake [White] has stressed to us over the last six to eight rounds.
''The Waratahs are going to be another big game, they've been copping it from all directions so they're going to be fired up.''
The Brumbies escaped from their 11-point win with no injuries. Winger Jesse Mogg left the field in the final minutes after a knock to his shoulder, but will be fit to play against NSW.
Despite losing their past six games and being out of playoff contention, the Waratahs will be fired up to break the hearts of their two biggest rivals.
White will hope the Brumbies reproduce the first-half form from the Force game (22-0 up) and not the second stanza effort (17-6 down).
''It's the derby game, I'm sure [the Waratahs] would have watched our game and probably the second half more than the first half,'' White said.
''You can take nothing for granted, it's another big challenge for us.
''They've lost six in a row, there's a bit of negativity happening in terms of whether the coach is staying or going. But we just have to get the job done.''
The clash will also give the Brumbies' front row a chance to test itself against the Wallabies pack.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans opted to use the combination of Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sekope Kepu ahead of Ben Alexander, Moore and Dan Palmer during the mid-season Test matches against Wales.
''Something that [forwards coach Laurie Fisher] always says is that it's not about personal battles,'' Moore said. ''It's about a team performance so it's about how we can best work for the team.
''We'll come up with a plan that we think will best work to beat the Waratahs.''
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