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Wallabies spot drives Auelua


Chris Dutton

Brumbies players Fotu Auelua and Clyde Rathbone boxing during training.

Brumbies players Fotu Auelua and Clyde Rathbone boxing during training. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Fotu Auelua's brutal hits left his opponents trembling in his debut Super Rugby season, but the powerhouse's Wallabies mission is the driving force behind his bid to have a bigger impact next year.

The ACT Brumbies forward hopes his first full pre-season in Canberra will help him reach his goal of breaking into the Australian Test squad next year.

Auelua arrived in Canberra in February just weeks before his first Super Rugby campaign started.

But while most players weighing more than 120 kilograms dread the hard slog in scorching conditions during pre-season, Auelua insists the gut-busting sessions will be the key to his Wallabies dreams.

Auelua has lost six kilograms in five weeks and has trimmed his frame to 117 kilograms.

It's all part of his plan to continue his power game but add endurance to have a greater impact for the Brumbies.

The 28-year-old was an Australian junior star.

But instead of playing in the domestic competition, Auelua started forging his career in France and Japan before returning to Australia.

One of the biggest motivators in leaving the lucrative contracts abroad was a chance to play for the Wallabies.

''I've definitely still got things to prove, the challenge for any rugby player here is to want to put on that gold jersey,'' Auelua said.

''I'm still pursuing that … but it all starts here at the Brumbies.

''I have the same goals as what I did last year and I still feel like I'm in the race.

''If I tick all the boxes I'll have the confidence going into my second year of Super Rugby whereas last year I wasn't aware of the speed and I was a bit scared that I wouldn't last the 80 minutes.

''If I brush that negativity away, that's the key.''

Auelua's Japan contract limited his time to work with the Brumbies in the pre-season last year.

His late arrival prompted coach Jake White to postpone his Super Rugby debut until midway through the season.

He had an immediate impact with his power running and hard-hitting defence.

The challenge he faces now is to be the same physically imposing player despite has weight loss.

''I've dropped down to 110 kilograms before and I just wasn't the same player,'' Auelua said.

''I could go for 80 minutes, but the impact I could have was really limited. Pushing forward and hitting the advantage line is my point of difference … if I can stay heavy but still carry my weight for longer, that suits my game.''

A fully fit and firing Auelua is a frightening prospect for opposition teams in what looms as an imposing forward pack.

All three starting front-rowers - Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Dan Palmer - have played for the Wallabies.

Test skipper David Pocock is the marquee recruit, with Ben Mowen, Ita Vaea, Colby Faingaa and Auelua fighting for spots in the back row.

''I think we need to make sure [Auelua] is more consistent and he can last the full Super Rugby competition,'' White said. ''Our forward pack was always going to be strong [next year] - last season was about cutting our teeth. The challenge is what combinations we play together and the make-up isn't necessarily as what it was last season. Who knows what end product we can have.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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