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New season dawns for Brumbies

Date

Here are five things to get excited about for the Super Rugby season.

Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone.

Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone. Photo: Getty Images

Rathbone's comeback

There's a little bit of showman in coach White and he knew the excitement that would be created by naming Clyde Rathbone to make his comeback at Canberra Stadium in round one.

That's taking nothing away from Rathbone and the work he's done to get back into the starting XV after three years out of the game. But having the former Wallabies winger back adds an extra bit of spice and anticipation to a campaign that the Brumbies hope will lift them back into the Super Rugby finals.

Christian Lealiifano.

Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Getty Images

If Rathbone can stay injury-free and play the blockbusting game that lifted him into the Test arena, it has all the makings for a rugby movie.

 

Christian Lealiifano

Brumbies coach Jake White.

Brumbies coach Jake White. Photo: Getty Images

Lealiifano was a certainty to be selected in his first Wallabies squad before he dislocated his ankle playing against the Waratahs last year.

It might take him some time to recapture the same form, but he's a proven leader in the Brumbies' back line and he's on Robbie Deans' radar for Test selection.

The 25-year-old will start the season at inside-centre as Matt Toomua gets a chance to cement his place at fly-half.

Joe Tomane.

Joe Tomane. Photo: Getty Images

That will give Lealiifano more time and space to terrorise oppositions. What makes him dangerous is his unpredictability. He can slice a defence open, throw a wide pass or use his superb kicking game.

 

The Queensland rivalry

David Pocock.

David Pocock. Photo: Getty Images

Jake White and Ewen McKenzie have built the round-one clash into a war with accusations of mind games. The Brumbies are trying to knock off the Reds as the best team in the Australian conference.

White got on the front foot and said McKenzie was trying to distract his team by refusing to name a starting line-up.

The players will have seen the jibes between the coaches and hopefully the passion is evident on the field.

 

Attacking rugby

The Brumbies laid some solid foundations last season and they're ready to branch out and add a bit of attacking flair to their back line.

They've got try-scoring ability in Joseph Tomane, Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg and Clyde Rathbone.

To be a contender, they know they have to be able to score more tries as well as keeping their strong defensive record intact. White wants to play ''entertaining'' rugby, but the No.1 priority is winning.

 

David Pocock

The Brumbies have been blessed with great openside flankers in the past. George Smith tops the list and foundation captain Brett Robinson also wore the No.7 jersey.

Now it's Pocock's turn and as one of the best players in world rugby, there's little doubt he'll slot straight into the game plan.

The good news for fans is the Brumbies are confident they can turn Pocock in the an even better player by adding an attacking edge to his game while still dominating the breakdown in defence.

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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
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
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