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Budget Brumbies blitz Super Rugby

Date

Chris Dutton

Ben Mowen, centre, leads Brumbies players during the Captain's Run at Canberra Stadium on Friday.

Ben Mowen, centre, leads Brumbies players during the Captain's Run at Canberra Stadium on Friday. Photo: Graham Tidy

They started the season as the budget team $200,000 under the ARU salary cap but the bargain ACT Brumbies are on the brink of ruining their arch rival's Super Rugby finals hopes.

And while few knew them at the start of the year, the Brumbies will have extra motivation with Wallabies spots up for grabs when they take on the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The Brumbies will attempt to continue their amazing resurgence when they aim for their sixth victory of the season.

Coach Jake White said ''people would have laughed at us'' at the start of the year if he had suggested his team would be at the top of the Australian conference.

But that's exactly where it sits.

The clash with the Waratahs is the biggest of the Brumbies' season.

The Brumbies have beaten just one team in the top 10 on the competition ladder - the Otago Highlanders.

But they have shown their unknown squad is capable of producing performances no one thought possible and their ''big brother'' Waratahs are in their sights.

''The thing about the team we've got at the moment is it's not about rock stars or anything like that, it's about the team performance,'' captain Ben Mowen said.

''Whatever tag comes with that is fine as long we stick to what our team principles are, which are working hard for each other and making sure that work ethic allows us to play the way we want to play.

''Belief is something that grows and good results reaffirm that. It doesn't change the amount of belief, but our guys are definitely growing in confidence.''

The two-time champions boasted just three established Wallabies at the start of the season and half of the 35-man squad was preparing for its first Super Rugby campaign.

In contrast, the Waratahs had players with Test experience and a host of others capable of stepping up to the next level.

While most expected the star-studded Waratahs to fire this year, it's the Brumbies who have ignited the competition. And they've done it all with a budget roster which comes in more than $200,000 under the salary cap.

Instead of chasing stars when he arrived in Canberra, White invested in untapped talent.

He gave fringe players a chance to test themselves and now the former World Cup-winning coach is reaping the rewards.

Fullback Jesse Mogg started the season on a $50,000 contract in the extended player squad - which is funded by the ARU.

But having played every match and bolted into shock Wallabies contention, Mogg has been upgraded to the full-time roster as he continues his rise from the club ranks to a potential Test player.

Mogg, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Sam Carter and Dan Palmer are all a chance to make their Test debuts this year.

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly had no doubt the unknown Brumbies had catapulted themselves into Wallabies calculations.

''They bought moderately in the off-season or had what was left when some of the other states picked their teams,'' Connolly said.

''In the past the Brumbies have had the bulk of the money spent on them with the George Gregans and Stephen Larkhams.

''It's a credit to the organisation what they've done, their identification policies and the coaches as well.''

The grudge match against the Waratahs will be the Brumbies' first game since returning from their most successful South African tour in a decade.

They have scored 16 tries in their past three matches and have conceded just four.

If the Brumbies beat their interstate rival, they can set up a run to break a seven-season finals drought.

A victory tonight would put them two points clear in the conference race for a guaranteed finals spot.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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