Rugby Union

Brumbies set for new leadership structure as Rory Arnold gears for giant twin battle

The ACT Brumbies are set to unveil a revamped leadership structure on Friday as they ramp up preparations for the Super Rugby season with their first trial just a week away.

Twelve months after Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham streamlined the leadership group from six to three, the club is set for another change in the build-up to the club's title hopes.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has a plethora of leaders to choose from this year, including Stephen Moore, David Pocock ...
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has a plethora of leaders to choose from this year, including Stephen Moore, David Pocock and Scott Fardy. Photo: Graham Tidy

The Brumbies are blessed with a plethora of Test stars and senior players, including Stephen Moore, Christian Lealiifano, David Pocock, Scott Fardy and Matt Toomua.

​Moore is leaving the Brumbies at the end of the season to join the Queensland Reds while Lealiifano re-signed in Canberra this week, Pocock is weighing up his future, Fardy is locked in until 2017 and Toomua is moving to England.

Rory Arnold is ready for blood to be spilt in a battle with twin brother Richie.
Rory Arnold is ready for blood to be spilt in a battle with twin brother Richie. Photo: Gallo Images

Moore has proven himself as an Australian rugby leader, guiding the Wallabies into the World Cup final last year.

Larkham will announce his new leaders set-up as well as the full squad on Friday, with prop Ruan Smith set to return to Canberra next week following a stint in Japan.

The Brumbies will play the NSW Waratahs in a pre-season hit-out in Wagga, with Larkham to trial some new combinations and give players a chance to impress.

Lock Rory Arnold is itching for his second Super Rugby season after being invited into the Wallabies camp last year.

Rory Arnold hopes to be more consistent in 2016.
Rory Arnold hopes to be more consistent in 2016. Photo: Rohan Thomson

But there's the added incentive of a clash against his twin brother in round three when the Brumbies play against the Western Force.

The Arnold brothers started their rugby journey in a Queensland pub a few  years ago when a stranger asked them if they wanted to play third grade.

Now Rory is settled in at the Brumbies and Richie is chasing his chance with the Force.

"We started in third grade together and trained twice a week, it's funny how it all worked out. I would never have thought I'd be playing professional rugby, but five years later we've both got a deal," Rory Arnold said.

"I'm proud of him to get a contract over there ... if the stars align and we get a start it would be pretty special. I won't be holding back if we get out there."

The Arnold brothers will be hard to miss if they both get on the field for the Brumbies' clash against the Force in Perth on March 11.

They are both 208 centimetres – the tallest players in Australian Super Rugby history – while Richie has an extra seven kilograms to throw into a battle with his brother.

And coming from a family of four brothers, there's guaranteed to be blood spilt.

"A bloke at the pub asked me if I wanted to play third grade [in Queensland]. I said yes, but [Richie] was giving it to me and saying I wouldn't play," Rory said.

"I turned up to training on the Tuesday and he followed me down. I injured my shoulder in 2013 in South Africa and I came back and we had shoulder surgery two weeks apart on the same shoulder.

"We used to live together and people thought we were making it up with our slings on the same arm.

"We're pretty similar. He's got a bigger nose. He's probably more skilful, but I'll back my aggression. We used to bash each other, we were always fighting as kids. But we're pretty close."

Rory will battle with Sam Carter and Blake Enever for game time, and hopes to increase his fitness to play for longer as well as his scrum and lineout work.

A bulging disc in his back hampered part of his season, and he had two injections to ease the pain but hopes it won't be a problem this year.

He's is already on Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's radar, and was invited into the pre-World Cup squad last year.

But Arnold is refusing to look too far ahead, and is instead focused on helping the Brumbies chase their Super Rugby goals.

"The door's open if I have a big year. I'm hoping for it but I'll take it as it comes. I'm pretty laid back with it," Arnold said.