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Size isn't everything - Robbie Coleman ready to prove the doubters wrong in ACT Brumbies semi-final against NSW Waratahs

Union

ACT Brumbies winger Robbie Coleman at Brumbies HQ on Thursday.

ACT Brumbies winger Robbie Coleman at Brumbies HQ on Thursday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Olympic Games aspirant, Commonwealth Games silver medallist, greyhound enthusiast and the only non-Wallaby in an all-star ACT Brumbies backline – Robbie Coleman is many things but the label of being too small is the one he wants to prove wrong.

That's why the Queanbeyan junior has vowed to give his all and throw himself into every contest when the Brumbies play against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday night in the biggest Australian derby in 12 years.

Four years ago Coleman was leading the Australian sevens side at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi wondering if he would ever get his chance to achieve his dream of playing for the Brumbies.

Had the Brumbies been knocked out of title contention this season, Coleman would have been in Glasgow chasing a gold medal and he has a dream to go for gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

But after an injury-riddled three years, the 23-year-old finally feels settled in Super Rugby, has enlisted Clyde Rathbone as a mentor and his blistering speed and try-scoring form has put him on the cusp of a shock Wallabies call-up.

No one has ever doubted Coleman's speed. But at 179 centimetres and 83 kilograms, it's his diminutive frame which attracts attention in a rugby world infatuated with big, bustling wingers.

"I've never felt like I'm too small or not strong enough. In my first three Super Rugby games [in 2011] I played inside centre against Tana Umaga, Sonny Bill Williams and Ma'a Nonu," Coleman said.

"I love the contact work. My strength isn't my size, it's my speed and acceleration. But I've never felt small. If you worry about it too much, it won't work out and I've never noticed it.

"But [coach Stephen Larkham] said to me at the start of the year that he doesn't care if I'm 95 kilos or 75 kilos, he just wants me to be where I'm at my strong best."

In a match boasting 22 players in the Wallabies squad, a NSW-ACT rivalry and with a grand final berth on the line, it's easy to forget about pint-sized Coleman.

Coleman was dubbed the "Prince of Queanbeyan" by former Brumbies captain Matt Giteau in his breakthrough season in 2011.

Since then the 23-year-old has struggled with injuries, including neck problems, knee troubles, groin strains and the debilitating osteitis pubis.

At times he was so frustrated that he could see his Super Rugby ambitions slipping away while the Brumbies powered on without him.

In previous years Coleman had to stretch for six hours before he played or trained just to make sure his body could cope.

But he finally feels comfortable on the field, scoring eight tries in his 14 games this season to be the Brumbies top scorer.

"The biggest thing is that the last two years I've been plagued by injuries, I wasn't playing games so people didn't understand that I was sore," Coleman said.

"Just to run fast hurt. To get up for games was a six hour stretching session, it was a nightmare. Now I feel better. I still have to put the hours into getting my body right, but I'm getting better. I've got no excuses now."

Coleman is contemplating a break from Super Rugby in 2016 to chase Olympic success with the Australian team in Rio.

The Brumbies are willing to help him on his pursuit of a dream gold medal, as long as it doesn't affect his Super Rugby duties.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said one of the toughest decisions he's made this season was having to leave Coleman out of the game-day squad for the first match of the season.

But since then the speedy winger has launched an undeniable case to be included every week.

"He's in the right frame of mind this year and he's keeping a couple of Wallabies on the bench, his form certainly warrants selection," Larkham said.

"He's different to the big, bustling wingers, but he throws his body in there. He's very competitive and aggressive on the ball. He's super quick and agile, absolutely suited to this team."

Coleman was almost called into the Wallabies camp earlier this year and Test scrumhalf Nic White insists he would be a perfect fit for international rugby.

"You could see in his eyes this pre-season that he was going to take any opportunity he got, he didn't know in what position that would be but he knew he would take it," White said.

"Clyde has a real strong confidence that Robbie can go to the next level. He's skilful, he's quick and he won't let anyone down physically [if he's picked for the Wallabies].

"There are always those doubters out there, but he's as tough as nails and I'm certainly confident when I'm inside or outside him."

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 17:35AMI
REB vs BLU 19:40AAMI
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs SHA 17:35WS
FOR vs WAR 19:40nib Stadium
LIO vs HIG 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs BRU 01:05DHL Newlands
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 17:35EP
RED vs REB 19:40SS
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs CHF 17:35WS
WAR vs SHA 19:40AS
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs BRU 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
CHT vs HIG 03:10FSS
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 17:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 19:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HUR 17:35Emirates Airlines Park
WAR vs CRU 19:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs LIO 01:05FSS
STO vs REB 03:10DHL Newlands
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 17:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 17:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 19:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 17:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 15:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 17:35EP
RED vs CHF 19:40SS
CHT vs WAR 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO vs LIO 01:05DHL Newlands
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 17:35EP
REB vs FOR 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 10 9 1 0 107 43
Bulls 11 7 4 0 48 34
Brumbies 11 6 5 0 93 32
Chiefs 11 8 3 0 77 38
Waratahs 10 7 3 0 32 31
Stormers 11 7 4 0 25 30
Highlanders 10 7 3 0 53 33
Lions 11 6 5 0 -45 27
View all
 
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