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Holmes says best is yet to come

Date

Jon Tuxworth

Zack Holmes of the Brumbies scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies at Westpac Stadium on May 18 in Wellington.

Zack Holmes of the Brumbies scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies at Westpac Stadium on May 18 in Wellington. Photo: Getty Images

He scored 22 points on debut last week, and is being touted as the ACT Brumbies' unlikely saviour.

But rookie flyhalf Zack Holmes insists that performance was far from his best, and he isn't fazed by the prospect of doing battle with Queensland Reds whiz Quade Cooper in Saturday's blockbuster at Canberra Stadium.

Drafted into the Brumbies' No.10 jersey following season-ending knee injuries to Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano, Holmes was outstanding in last week's 37-25 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Taking on the defending champion in front of a packed home crowd, to virtually seal a finals spot, is a totally different proposition.

But Holmes, who turns 22 next Wednesday, intends to embrace the challenge. ''You try not to think about it [the expectation] too much, that's out of my control,'' Holmes said yesterday.

''I'm not quite as nervous this week, I'm feeling a bit more comfortable even though it's a really big game. For me it's about building on last week and there's things I can work on, I don't think that's the best I can play.''

The Brumbies' structured style has helped Holmes ease his way into the most influential position on the field.

Cooper's Reds are known for playing a more off-the-cuff style, and Holmes said it would be foolish to try and emulate the freakish football the Wallabies star can produce.

Cooper played 40 minutes in his return from a knee reconstruction against the Lions last week, and is tipped to play the full match against the Brumbies.

The Reds are currently eight points behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference, and will also gain four points with a bye next week.

''You can't predict what Quade will do, but you know what he can bring to a game,'' Holmes said. ''It's just being aware of what he can do but not focus on him too much.

''There's things he can do that nobody else can and everybody knows that, but I think most five-eighths would look at his game and try and emulate some of the things he does.''

However, Holmes insisted the perception Queensland lives and dies by 'razzle dazzle' football is largely a myth.

''The Reds probably aren't as structured, but they still do play quite a simple game plan in terms of not playing any footy in their own half,'' Holmes said.

''Last year Quade and [Will] Genia had the second and third most kicks in the competition, so it's not like they're just throwing balls from side to side, and making breaks from their own 22.

''They do play a structured game, but when Quade gets the ball he has free rein so to speak.''

Nic White is tipped to replace Ian Prior as starting scrumhalf, meaning one of Super Rugby's least experienced halves combinations will face arguably the game's best in Cooper and Genia.

''Whitey backs himself and doesn't die wondering, that's similar to my game,'' Holmes said. ''We both back our abilities and this week it's about our communication and making sure we're on the same page.''

The West Australian insisted he was always destined to play rugby, despite being an outstanding junior in athletics and soccer.

He held a handful of national titles on the track and trained with the Perth Glory Academy for a period.

However, he believes both sports had helped shape his rugby game. ''With my goalkicking, soccer's definitely played a part, and with my running athletics has helped that.''

Brumbies No.8 Fotu Auelua remains in serious doubt for the match after copping a couple of head knocks against the Hurricanes.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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