Rugby Union

James Dargaville to turn Henry Speight's Olympic dream into a Super Rugby chance

One man's Olympic Games dream is another's Super Rugby opportunity. At least, that's how James Dargaville is approaching his second ACT Brumbies season and a chance to fill Henry Speight's shoes.

The Brumbies are set to roll out up to 12 internationals in their starting side for the Super Rugby season opener against the Wellington Hurricanes on February 26.

James Dargaville playing for the Canberra Vikings this year. He's chasing a Super Rugby start in 2016.
James Dargaville playing for the Canberra Vikings this year. He's chasing a Super Rugby start in 2016. Photo: Stefan Postles

But Speight's decision to pursue an Rio Olympics ambition with the Australian sevens program is set to parachute Dargaville into a back-line littered with Wallabies.

It remains unclear how often Speight will be available for Brumbies selection as he commits most of his time to learning the sevens game plan and slotting in for tournaments across the world.

James Dargaville scores a try for the Brumbies during the 2015 season.
James Dargaville scores a try for the Brumbies during the 2015 season. Photo: Stefan Postles

Speight will play at the Sydney Sevens on February 6-7 at the same time the rest of the Brumbies are fine-tuning their Super Rugby preparations at a trial match in Wagga.

That gives Dargaville, Nigel Ah Wong, Lausii Taliauli and Aidan Toua a chance to slot into the vacant wing spot, with whoever impresses the most pressing their claims for a regular call-up.

"It's a matter of being ready for my opportunities when they come, it's such a good team and in particular a good back-line, that you've got to fit in and do your role," Dargaville said.

"With Henry going to sevens during the year we're slightly thin there ... one of us can step up there.

"It's just a matter of getting your opportunity in the trials and performing. That's all you can do. [Having so many Wallabies] definitely helps you as a player to see where you can improve, it makes you better when you're with better players."

The Brumbies will play pre-season trials against the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds in February as coach Stephen Larkham tinkers with his final starting XV.

The club boasts Wallabies players in almost every position and is being touted as a championship contender.

It looms as a golden chance for the Brumbies to breakthrough for their first title since 2004, with skipper Stephen Moore and playmaker Matt Toomua signing deals to leave Canberra at the end of the year.

It is hoped Christian Lealiifano is edging closer to a new deal with the Brumbies while negotiations have started with superstar flanker David Pocock.

Dargaville just has his head down and focused on earning more Super Rugby caps after his debut campaign last year.

"Last year was my first experience of getting through the first training block and then all of a sudden it was time for the trials," Dargaville said.

"You've just got to put as much hard work in now as you can and hopefully reap the rewards of that later."