Rugby Union

Robbie Coleman confident he will be fit for start of Brumbies' Super Rugby season

ACT Brumbies full-back Robbie Coleman will return to training this week hoping to claim the No.15 jersey for the Super Rugby season opener on February 26.

Coleman is ready to make a comeback from a frustrating calf injury which has set his preparation back and opened the door for Aidan Toua to take on full-back duties.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is facing at least three selection headaches for the first-round clash against the Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium.

Coleman and Toua are going head-to-head for a starting spot, while Rory Arnold, Tom Staniforth and Blake Enever are competing for a second-row call up and Jarrad Butler, Jordan Smiler and Ita Vaea are vying for the No.8 spot.

Staniforth has forced his way into calculations almost two years after his only Super Rugby appearance, with his unrelenting approach to training sparking heated exchanges between players in maul practice.

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Coleman was the only Brumby not to play in a trial match after straining his calf during training last month, but the club is set to have a full squad available for selection for round one.

"I was just running one of the back line plays when my calf went on me. It's taken longer than I hoped to get back but the speed is back and I'm feeling strong again," Coleman said.

"I'm back on track now. You've got to deal with those little setbacks and make sure you come back better from it.

"The last two or three years I've had ankle injuries that I knew could only be fixed by surgery, so that was disheartening knowing I'd have to play through pain for an entire season.

"But this is just a little setback that mentally I can deal with it. It's not going to trouble me through the year and I know it's not going to hold me back. The plan is to be right for round one, whether or not I'm selected is up to the coaches. I just have to give myself every chance."

Fans flocked to the Brumbies' meet the players day at the University of Canberra on Saturday. The entire squad signed autographs and mingled with supporters for three hours.

It came less than 24 hours after the Brumbies beat the Queensland Reds 31-18 in their last pre-season trial.

Former Red Toua is in the box-seat to claim the No.15 jersey given Coleman was unable to play in either trial match, but Larkham has two weeks to settle on his round-one line-up.

The Brumbies boast 11 Wallabies who are all set to be picked for round one. Argentina's Test scrum-half Tomas Cubelli is also impressing and staking a claim for a starting role.

"We haven't seen Robbie Coleman this year but he came off a really good year last season. I'll always give guys an opportunity to get back out there," Larkham said.

"Aidan has played extremely well so we'll make a decision down the track. The second row is really competitive and it's going to be difficult.

"There's a few tough decisions that we're going to have to make over the next two weeks."

The Brumbies are hoping for a bumper crowd to start their season against last year's grand finalists the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes knocked the Brumbies out in the semi-final in New Zealand last year.

The Brumbies are also hopeful that star flanker David Pocock will make a decision on his future soon, potentially before the round-one fixture.

SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE

Friday, February 26: ACT Brumbies v Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium, 7.40pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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