IT MAY have been a more low-key affair than they are used to, but a handful of ACT Brumbies stars had plenty of incentive to perform as Queanbeyan hosted Royals in the John I Dent Cup yesterday.
With Brumbies coach Jake White an interested spectator, Sam Carter, Leon Power, Tevita Kuridrani, Siliva Siliva, Kimami Situati and Anthony Hegarty were desperate to make an impact before the Super Rugby side's clash against the Western Force on June 30.
Despite White insisting the efforts of his players in yesterday's John I Dent Cup matches will have little bearing on his squad, it was the Queanbeyan trio of Power, Kuridrani and Hegarty who claimed bragging rights with a 27-8 win.
''I will pick a team by next week … the boys who miss out, must play club rugby again next week,'' White said.
''I will try and pick 24 guys … I'll base that on what I think we need to beat the Force.''
Since arriving at the helm, White has imposed a mandatory rule on his squad that they must play ACT club rugby, but said he doesn't use it for selection purposes.
''It is meaningless to me, I know what they are worth to me when they play and train for the Brumbies,'' he said.
''It's got no indication of who plays and doesn't play.''
Despite White claiming yesterday's club clashes would have no impact on his selection, back-rower Power said he treated every game the same.
''Every game is a selection game, you're only as good as your last 80 minutes,'' he said.
White stressed there was still a need for the Brumbies to be playing locally.
''It's about getting some of the things we do in practice into the game,'' White said.
With all available Brumbies playing club rugby this weekend, it has not only provided a chance for the local community to experience their talent up close, but gives the players an opportunity to engage with and appreciate local clubs.
Carter said he enjoyed the different experience in his first game for Royals. ''I was really excited to get out here and have a go, meet new people and find out what club rugby is like in Canberra,'' Carter said.
''It's a bit different to the levels we have been playing, but it's good to have a hit-out and get amongst it.''
In other John I Dent Cup games yesterday, Wests beat Uni-Norths 32-20, while Tuggeranong thrashed Easts 73-8.