Rugby Union

Disjointed travel won't hinder Brumbies against Stormers: Jarrad Butler

The ACT Brumbies are confident a disjointed travel schedule will not hinder their preparations in Cape Town as they seek to continue an unbeaten start to the Super Rugby season.

The Brumbies trained as a full squad for the first time on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning AEDT) after the back line arrived and reinforcements from Canberra joined the team.

Jarrad Butler is determined to take his opportunity for more game time with the Brumbies.
Jarrad Butler is determined to take his opportunity for more game time with the Brumbies. Photo: Morne de Klerk

The Brumbies and the Durban Sharks are the only teams in the competition who have won all three games to kickstart their campaigns.

It's just the second time sine 2005 the Brumbies have started a season this well, but a two-game South African trip looms as a huge test.

Versatile back-rower Jarrad Butler says the side can cope with an unusual travel schedule, which saw the 27-man squad split over three flights to the Republic.

The Brumbies will play the Cape Town Stormers on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT) in a re-match of last year's semi-final and Butler says the visitors are on notice for the Stormers seeking revenge.

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"The change in travel is something different, and going through Perth is something I haven't done before so hopefully that helps us make the transition," Butler said.

"The Stormers have a reputation for being a really physical team and they've got amazing support here in Cape Town ... I'm sure they're looking forward and not back towards last year.

"It's going to be a massive one and huge in terms of the contact zone, we have to be ready to combat that. We're not going to take our good start to the year for granted, we want to continue from where we are."

Butler is locked in negotiations with the Brumbies about his future but insists he won't be distracted.

The 24-year-old was thrust back into the starting side in the 31-14 win against the Western Force last weekend, stepping up to fill the void left by powerhouse No. 8 Ita Vaea.

Vaea's dislocated finger injury has opened the door for Butler to impress and he didn't let the Brumbies down in a solid 80-minute performance against the Force.

"First of all I was disappointed for Ita, he's having a strong year again and what he brings to the team is invaluable," Butler said.

"But I've got this opportunity to get some minutes and you definitely want to put your best foot forward and make it as hard as possible for [forwards coach Dan McKellar] as far as selection is concerned.

"I think this week will be a telling one as far as coming up against a physical team like the Stormers and trying to be as effective as you can. Personally I'm looking forward to that and when Ita comes back hopefully it's a hard situation for the coaches but the best for the Brumbies."

Coach Stephen Larkham will finalise his team in the coming days, but given the varying travel schedule is likely to stick with combinations that have flourished in the first three games.

The Brumbies play the Stormers and the Free State Cheetahs on their two-week tour. If they win both games it will be their best start to a season in 15 years.

Fullback Robbie Coleman is pushing for a call-up to the starting side after injury delayed his start to the year while Ruan Smith, Ben Hyne, James Dargaville and Michael Wells join the travelling party.

Butler could line up against Springboks champion Schalk Burger at the back of the scrum in a battle of brute force. 

"With the style we've got this year, guys can express a bit more freedom in attack and that's really exciting. I'm really enjoying that and hopefully I get to use that again this week.

"We spoke about my contract early on in the year, but we're not letting it get in the way of rugby at the moment. Hopefully we can work something out in the near future but for the time being I'm just focused on that chance to play more minutes."