Rugby Union


Brumbies rookie Tom Staniforth wants to 'go gangbusters' after Super Rugby debut

Super Rugby rookie Tom Staniforth hopes his ACT Brumbies cameo ignites his career, saying he wants to "go gangbusters" as he chases his professional dream.

A teenage part-time pub glassy, Staniforth has forced his way into Brumbies contention for the rest of the season despite only having a two-week contract.

But Staniforth says his Super Rugby stint could be put on hold after just one game - his strong debut in a 23-20 win against the Queensland Reds.

Staniforth held his own against the Reds' two Wallabies locks, prompting former Test skipper James Horwill to forecast a "big future" for the youngest second-rower to debut in Super Rugby.

The Brumbies called on 19-year-old Staniforth as injury cover for Sam Carter and Leon Power and he was thrust into a daunting debut.

Carter is on track to play against the Waikato Chiefs on Anzac Day, which could put Staniforth's rise on hold when his two-week supplementary contract ends next week.


His goal is to try to earn a spot on the Brumbies full-time roster next season.

"I went as hard as I could for as long as I could ... I don't really think long term, I just try to go gangbusters," Staniforth said.

"Every game could be your last one. Growing up, I said if I could get one game I'd be happy. I can call myself a Brumby ... but I still want it a lot. I want to be a rugby player.

"I just do what I'm told, playing for the Brumbies has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I just love playing, I'll work in a pub and play. That's not a big deal to me."

The former Canberra Boys' Grammar student has been described as an on-field "beast". Off it, his Brumbies teammates have been trying to turn him into a fashionista, overhauling his wardrobe, after learning he wears the same clothes every week, and trying to find him a girlfriend.

Staniforth's only focus is rugby. The Australian under-20s representative is tipped to be one of national team leaders at the junior world championships in June.

"Playing for the Brumbies is the best feeling ever," he said. "I've lived in Canberra forever and to be able to play means everything to me."

"I was knackered, really knackered. It's so fast and tough, but I loved every minute.

"I was very nervous, but I'm really thankful for guys like Ben Mowen, Scott Fardy and Fotu [Auelua] who help me."

Staniforth is a raw talent who is still fine-tuning his game, but it's his aggression and dedication that has given him a jump start.

He was also added to the Brumbies' pre-season leadership group with David Pocock and Auelua.

Horwill, a 35 Test second-rower, was impressed with Staniforth's Super Rugby initiation.

"Being 19, he didn't look out of place," Horwill said. "He's a guy I imagine will have a big future. It's always good to see a young guy come through."

Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said: "I remember our first mauling session he almost created a fight because he tore us apart at training, he's just a goer."