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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.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
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