Wallabies jerseys to motivate Brumbies
ACT Brumbies full back Jesse Mogg. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
The ACT Brumbies are bracing for a ''vital'' three weeks to set up their finals dream and coach Jake White hopes team success delivers Wallabies jerseys to his star rookies.
The Brumbies will begin a season-defining period when they take on the Wellington Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium tonight.
And their drastic turnaround on the field is set to transfer into individual honours, with as many as 10 Brumbies in contention to make the giant leap to Test Rugby next month.
The new generation Brumbies are on the verge of ending an eight-year finals drought.
They have three matches before the mid-season Tests, with the Wallabies to play Scotland and Wales during a three-week Super Rugby bye.
White believes if the Brumbies can win their matches against the Hurricanes, Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels before the competition is put on hold, it will ''almost guarantee'' them a spot in the finals for the first time since 2004.
Strong Super Rugby form will almost certainly transfer into the international arena.
The Brumbies started the year with just three established Wallabies - Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe.
But after the team's impressive start to the Super Rugby campaign, captain Ben Mowen, Nic White, Joseph Tomane, Sam Carter, Dan Palmer, Fotu Auelua, Jesse Mogg, Michael Hooper and Tevita Kuridrani have rocketed out of obscurity and into the Wallabies frame.
''This is the working part of the tournament now, this is when the separation in the log will happen,'' White said.
''You could almost be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs if you play well enough in the next three weeks.
''The next three weeks are the ones you can control, so it's vital we perform well.''
The Brumbies have been the biggest surprise of the competition so far and sit at the top of the Australian conference.
Despite fielding a team of first-year players, White's men have rocketed in to Test calculations.
Coach Robbie Deans will name an initial Wallabies squad on May 28 - four days before the Brumbies' clash with the Rebels in Melbourne.
If Brumbies players are picked in the squad for the first Test on June 5, they will not join the Wallabies until after the match against the Rebels.
Deans will name his team for the first Test just two days before the clash with Scotland.
Mogg has risen from club rugby in Canberra to be a contender for a shock call-up to the Wallabies, while Tomane has impressed everyone with his transition from the NRL into Super Rugby.
White isn't shocked at the prospect of having almost half of his roster picked in an extended squad.
When the former South African coach arrived in Canberra he declared his intention to develop his players into Wallabies and have the majority of his team at the 2015 World Cup.
When asked if the Brumbies' development was ahead of schedule, White was unequivocal.
''No. When I said Wallabies, I don't mean a one-cap Wallaby,'' White said.
''I want these boys playing in the 2015 World Cup and if they are on the radar now, even if they don't get picked, it means we're doing something right.
''Boys want to play at the highest level, that's what everyone is playing the game for.
''We have to make sure we keep producing Wallabies.
''The fact that Robbie is looking at a lot of our players is a massive bonus.''
Super Rugby round 13: Wellington Hurricanes v ACT Brumbies at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 5.35pm.
TV time: Live on Fox Sports 3.