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Double ACT back together

Brumbies playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano.

Brumbies playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Melissa Adams

Eddie Jones has backed Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano to become one of the best playmaker combinations in Super Rugby as the duo prepares to make a comeback at Canberra Stadium.

But the former Wallabies and ACT coach has warned the Brumbies to prepare for the toughest year of their rebuilding phase as teams now hunt Jake White's men.

The Brumbies will begin the second year of White's plan to resurrect the club when they play the Queensland Reds in the opening round on Saturday night.

Their impressive campaign last season has changed the expectations and pressure on the players after a raw squad fell one game short of breaking the Brumbies' finals drought.

Toomua and Lealiifano had season-ending injuries last year, but Jones says they hold the key to the Brumbies rising to a new level.

''Toomua and Lealiifano have the potential to be the best 10-12 combination in the Australian conference,'' Jones said.

''Both have got great running and passing games and can kick. But they've got to be able to vary their alignment [in the back line], be flatter on fast ball and deep on slow ball.

''They're really young guys. Whatever they do this year, they'll do better next year and you have to invest in them coming through.

''The challenge is the attack needs to be able to score more points and the performance of the No.9, 10 and 12 will be crucial in how the team goes.''

Toomua will be given another chance to stake his claims as the first-choice flyhalf after a knee reconstruction cut his campaign short last year.

In his absence, Lealiifano stepped into the No.10 jersey and was on the cusp of a Wallabies call-up before he dislocated his ankle against the NSW Waratahs.

White is confident Toomua can have a breakout year.

''I'm very happy with how they're both going and I really think Matt Toomua is going to stake a massive claim this year,'' White said.

''He's big, strong and defends very well. He hasn't been lucky with playing games in the last couple of years but I'm hoping the more he stays on the field the better he will be and the combination will grow with Christian.''

The increased attention on the Brumbies this season is a stark contrast to the expectations when White first took the coaching reins.

The unheralded Brumbies surprised everyone when they led the Australian conference for most of the season before they choked at the last hurdle and the Reds stole the guaranteed spot in the finals. Their challenge now is to avoid second-year syndrome and take the next step.

''This is going to be the toughest year for them, it's a matter of how they keep going forward,'' Jones said.

''They were seen as a team that had lost its way … but now they'll be heavily scrutinised and analysed, opposition teams will really crank up the way they play the Brumbies.''

Foundation Brumbies captain Brett Robinson presented the players with their jerseys on Friday night and said the club was on ''an upward curve after a difficult period''.

''I can only see them improving with more time together … expectations have changed, but I think they can be like the [championship-winning side] of 2001 and learn from falling short the previous year.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 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 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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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