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Brumbies playmakers fight for spot


Chris Dutton

Matt Toomua puts in the hard yards during the Brumbies' pre-season.

Matt Toomua puts in the hard yards during the Brumbies' pre-season. Photo: Graham Tidy

HE ALMOST made a Super Rugby comeback to be the ACT Brumbies five-eighth saviour but Stephen Larkham has backed the team's playmakers to end the club's finals drought next season.

The only problem is he admits the back line combinations are already giving him a headache with the start of the 2013 campaign still three months away.

Injuries forced the Brumbies to use three different flyhalves last season.

Matt Toomua started the season as the first-choice playmaker.

When he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, Christian Lealiifano stepped in as the No.10.

When Lealiifano dislocated his ankle, it was Zack Holmes who guided the team through the rest of the season.

Brumbies coach Jake White tried to coax Larkham out of retirement to boost the playmaker ranks.

But the playmaker declined and while he concedes ''someone will miss out'', Toomua, Lealiifano and Holmes will all get their chances to impress and stake their claim.

''If you put Christian at No. 10, where do you put Matt Toomua? Because Matt played exceptionally well for us,'' Larkham said.

''I liked the combination of Matt at flyhalf and Christian at inside centre, but then where do you put [Wallabies inside centre] Pat McCabe?

''It's a headache we're going to have. In a perfect world no one will be injured and someone will have to miss out between the regulars of last season. But at the moment, who knows what the back line is going to look like?''

Larkham, Holmes and prop Scott Sio were at the Lyneham Tennis Centre yesterday for the Canberra Velocity's first home round of the Asia-Pacific Tennis League.

The Brumbies will be boosted at training this week with Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane, Andrew Smith and Henry Speight set to rejoin the team.

The quartet are returning from injuries and Larkham has been using players from Canberra's first-grade competition to fill in the gaps.

Toomua (knee) and Lealiifano (ankle) were standouts at flyhalf last season. Despite missing the second half of the season, Lealiifano's form was so good he almost won Australia's player of the year award.

But in their absence, Holmes stood tall and he led the team to within one game of the finals.

The young playmaker has returned fitter and stronger for his second Super Rugby campaign and ready to take on extra responsibility.

''I feel a lot more confident in my game and have a better understanding of what I need to do and be able to drive what happens in a game and at training,'' he said.

''I think we're in a lot better position than last year … it's going to be good and we're going to have to work harder.

''We've got the versatility to cover different positions, but if you ask any of us we'll all say we want to play in the No.10 jersey.''

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
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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
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