Refreshed White expecting the unexpected against Wales
Ita Vaea trains with the Brumbies on Sunday ahead of Tuesday night's clash against Wales at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Jay Cronan
Jake White has returned from his trip to Japan refreshed and reinvigorated and is warning his inexperienced ACT Brumbies to brace for a Test-like atmosphere tomorrow night.
The Brumbies will throw a young line-up into the spotlight for a mid-week tour clash with Six Nations champions Wales at Canberra Stadium.
Even Brumbies coach White admits he doesn't know what to expect.
But he's keen to use the match to see if his fringe players are capable of making the step into Super Rugby.
With Super Rugby in the middle of a three-week bye, White went to Japan last week to work with former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones and club NTT Communications.
''I had a chat to Eddie and he said the thing he enjoyed about coaching the Brumbies was being able to get away to talk different rugby to different people,'' White said.
''It's experimenting and sharing new ideas that restimulates you and reinvigorates you to come back and get going again. That's exactly what it was like for me.''
The Brumbies' finals hopes are on hold until the season resumes with a match against the Western Force on June 30.
They have eight players in camp with the Wallabies and White will join them after the Brumbies take on Wales. The ACT has twice beaten Wales before when they toured Canberra in 1978 and 1996.
Veteran lock Ben Hand - who has played just one game this season - will captain a side featuring seven players yet to make their Super Rugby debuts.
Tuggeranong Vikings prop JP Pradaud and teammate Beau Mokotupu will sit on the bench after being rewarded for strong seasons in the John I Dent Cup.
Former Australian under-20s players Siliva Siliva and Kimami Sitauti will play their first games for the Brumbies since joining the club.
With winger Joseph Tomane suffering an ankle injury last week, Sitauti, Tom Cox and Cam Crawford are all vying to replace him.
''I've signed a lot of players, but I haven't seen them actually out there playing,'' White said.
''Because we've been going well and through certain circumstances, we haven't been able to rotate, so I want to see these guys at the next level.
''I don't know what to expect and that's quite nice, it's exciting.''
Powerful back-rower Ita Vaea will get his chance to unleash some Tongan aggression against the tourists. Vaea played every match for the Brumbies last season, but he has played a more versatile role this year with Fotu Auelua and Ben Mowen filling the No.8 duties.
The 23-year-old is relishing the chance for extended game time.
''I'm pretty keen, there's been a lot of training and I've been putting a lot of energy in the tank,'' Vaea said.
''It's going to be a massive game and the boys are all excited to play.
''It hasn't been frustrating, I just come off the bench and try to give a bit of inspiration to the boys and lift them up.
''The team has been going well and I'm happy I've got the opportunity to play an international team.''