Rugby Union

Brumbies unfazed by Super Rugby maul changes, says Robbie Abel

The new Super Rugby maul interpretations won't deter the ACT Brumbies from turning to their go-to attacking weapon when the season begins, according to hooker Robbie Abel.

Referees are set to crack down on the intricacies of the rolling maul this year in a bid to stop teams illegally transferring the ball backwards.

Robbie Abel says he's ready to step up for the Brumbies this year and challenge Josh Mann-Rea and Stephen Moore for game ...
Robbie Abel says he's ready to step up for the Brumbies this year and challenge Josh Mann-Rea and Stephen Moore for game time. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The move became almost unstoppable close to the line, with the Brumbies one of the most successful at turning the set-piece into tries.

They scored 10 tries directly from mauls last season but were told in January by SANZAAR, Super Rugby's governing body, that their attacking weapon was now illegal.

The Brumbies will keep using their rolling maul despite Super Rugby law changes.
The Brumbies will keep using their rolling maul despite Super Rugby law changes. Photo: Graham Tidy

The Brumbies experimented with different styles with varying results in their two pre-season trials.

"I don't think we'll change the Brumbies style of rugby or the focus on getting tries from our maul," Abel said.

"Honestly I think the referees will have a harder time adjusting to the rules than we will. There are a few rules there that we can maybe be unsure of times so I'm sure they are as well.

"We'll just have to adapt as we go and see how things go. I'm happy about the change, I might score a few more tries. We're pretty positive about any rule changes, we'll take it as it comes and still look to dominate."

The Brumbies will begin their season against the Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

Abel is battling with Josh Mann-Rea for a spot on the bench behind Wallabies hooker and captain Stephen Moore.

But the 26-year-old has his sights set on a long-term prize in Canberra after moving back to the capital following a stint with the Western Force.

Abel says he lost the love of rugby when he was in Perth, but has rediscovered his passion after reuniting with family and friends in Canberra.

"Moorey is our captain and the Wallabies captain, so he's got every bit of experience you need to be successful in a competition like this," Abel said.

"It doesn't mean Josh and I aren't trying to put as much pressure on him as we can. Hopefully that drives the best out of him and us. I think that's the best for the team - our focus is on team success, not just counting caps."