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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 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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