Rugby Union

Wallabies warrior Scott Fardy says unassuming mindset key to Brumbies title bid

Scott Fardy earned international praise for his role at the World Cup, but the Wallabies flanker says a squad-wide unassuming mindset will be the crucial cog in the ACT Brumbies hopes of Super Rugby glory.

The Brumbies are hosing down hype before their Super Rugby season opener against the Wellington Hurricanes on Friday night, adamant reputations and talent counts for little when they run out at Canberra Stadium.

Scott Fardy says the Brumbies won't be distracted by external expectations this year.
Scott Fardy says the Brumbies won't be distracted by external expectations this year. Photo: Getty Images

Most experts are tipping the Brumbies to be a title contender, with the club boasting 14 internationals in their 35-man squad.

One of their biggest assets is squad stability, with some players turning down lucrative overseas offers in a bid to chase a drought-breaking championship in Canberra.

Fardy has no doubt they can handle the pressure, but said expectation would have no bearing on their goals for the 2016 campaign.

"We've had a pretty stable squad for the last few years and that's a credit to everyone for sticking around," Fardy said.

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"But that doesn't matter when you get over that white line, you've just got to play well. It doesn't matter if you've been together for a long time or you've just arrived. You've got to perform, it's that simple.

"Every player is under the same amount of pressure. It's just how we react to that.

Scott Fardy will be a certain starter for the Brumbies' season opener against the Hurricanes.
Scott Fardy will be a certain starter for the Brumbies' season opener against the Hurricanes. Photo: Graham Tidy

"We've got a constant playing group and some really settled blokes who are calm and unassuming, I enjoy playing alongside those types of guys."

The Brumbies will return to training on Sunday in preparation for their first match of the season, leaving no stone unturned to ensure they get off to a fast start.

The scars of Fardy's World Cup campaign have healed, and despite being one of the oldest players in the squad he was the Brumbies' ironman last season.

Fardy played 1390 of a possible 1440 minutes, averaging 77 minutes per game in the Brumbies' 18 matches.

He admitted the Brumbies were still stinging from their preliminary final defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes last season.

The veteran back-rower still hasn't watched a replay of the 29-9 loss in Wellington that destroyed the Brumbies' hopes of winning the title.

But the Brumbies are driven by a new goal of creating their own history rather than being caught looking backwards.

"I don't think many players watch the last game you play of a season, you never do. You just get on with pre-season or whatever is next," Fardy said.

"It's up to the coaches to have a look to see what we can take out of it, and maybe we'll see what we can do better with a bit of footage this week.

"You know you're not far away when you're in finals and we were in the contest against the Hurricanes. We understand we were beaten by a better team on the day.

"But it hurts every time you finish the season without being the winner."

Fardy was tagged as the unsung hero of the Wallabies' back row during the World Cup, with All Blacks star Jerome Kaino describing him as the "glue" between Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

His tenacious style led to him needing more than 100 stitches to clean up wounds and keep him on the field during the World Cup campaign.

The 31-year-old journeyman has formed a strong breakdown combination with Pocock, and is happy to work in the background to cause trouble at the ruck while teams target the Brumbies' No.7.

"I'm always happy to just be part of a team and get on with it," Fardy said.

"To win the game you've got to win the breakdown. When we've lost games in the past, we've probably lost that area of the game. To be successful in this competition you have to be dominant at the breakdown.

"At any level of rugby, the breakdown is the most important element of the game. It happens more than anything, so it's important to be effective there.

"It's not often seen what a guy does before someone like Poey gets on the ball, that's the important thing."