Brumbies wary of a letdown
Brumbies player Andrew Smith in action at training. Photo: Melissa Adams
The ACT Brumbies are determined to avoid a second-week slump after spending seven months focusing on the Queensland Reds clash.
Straight after their season-ending loss to the Auckland Blues in the final round last year, the Brumbies looked to round one of this year as their shot at redemption.
The fact they were playing the Reds - the team that went into the play-offs at their expense - added further fuel to the fire.
Brumbies backs coach Stephen Larkham was mindful that putting so much importance on one game could leave them vulnerable against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night.
''That's a definite threat when you build up for so long for one game. It's hard to get up for the next game or focus on the next game, but the chat's been all good this morning,'' he said on Monday.
''We've done a review on the Reds so far and we've already spoken a number of times about the Rebels and certainly finished off our meeting with making sure we're focusing wholeheartedly on the Rebels this week.''
Outside centre Andrew Smith agreed it was something the Brumbies needed to guard against, but was confident there was plenty of hunger in the squad to make it two from two.
He was wary of the Rebels' ''dangerous'' centre pairing of Mitch Inman and Rory Sidey.
''It's quite a big centre pairing so they might try and use them to get over the advantage line and then use the skill and pace of [James] O'Connor and [Kurtley] Beale on the outside,'' Smith said.
''They're dangerous and we've got to be ready for them.''
The Brumbies were boosted on the injury front by good news about winger Henry Speight's rib injury.
Speight left Canberra Stadium on Saturday night in an ambulance with fears he may have broken his ribs.
Scans on Sunday cleared him of any break, but the club was still waiting on the results of an ultra-sound on Monday to check if there was further damage.
''Henry gets an ultrasound today, so we're still not sure, but he's certainly feeling better [than on Saturday night] and the CT scans showed nothing, so hopefully he's in contention for this weekend as well,'' Larkham said.
There is still a chance Speight will be fit for the clash with the Rebels. Speight sat out training on Monday, along with comeback kid Clyde Rathbone.
Rathbone's load has been constantly monitored throughout the pre-season to give him the best possible chance of playing out the season, which means he misses the odd practice session.
Meanwhile, Smith was no closer to deciding on his future. The outside centre is off contract at the end of the season and is considering whether to remain in Canberra or take up a lucrative offer overseas.
''I haven't really thought about it too much. The major focus is just on playing good rugby here and if I play good rugby that will all look after itself,'' Smith said.
''It's always nice to stay here, it's where I've played for four years now, so I've been living here a while and it's a great place.''
Super Rugby Round 2: Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, 7.40pm. TV Time: Live on Fox Sports 2.