White tells troops to forget the war
It's built as the ACT Brumbies' biggest rivalry but coach Jake White says his team risks getting ''thumped'' if it focuses on a ''war'' against the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium tomorrow night.
White played down the intensity of the interstate clash yesterday and has warned his players to only talk about the grudge match if it's not distraction.
The Brumbies sit at the top of the Australian Super Rugby conference with the Waratahs desperate to cut their lead.
White is taking the reins of his first ACT-NSW derby.
He's aware of the history between the clubs, but he is wary of a Waratah ambush ending his team's dream start to the club's new era.
The Brumbies are hoping to attract the biggest crowd of their season to create an atmosphere that ''young boys dream of''.
But the coach insisted his side was prepared for a contest which could set up its run to the finals.
''It's not a war against the Waratahs, they're desperate and we know that,'' White said.
''They're going to come with everything they have and we don't expect anything different.
''… This group has had to adjust every week with the pressures that come, the pressure now is the Waratahs are desperate … but I don't want us to get distracted.
''If it's going to bring out the best by saying you're the little brother and you're going to fight the big brother, then that's fine.
''But if it's going to detract from the performance then I don't want to discuss it and that's what I've mentioned to the players.
''I've seen this before … inevitably what happens is you get thumped because all the things that are sideshows become more important than the actual fixture.
''We don't want to lose a game because we're worried about things we can't control.''
The Brumbies have made three changes to the side which beat the Johannesburg Lions last weekend.
Skipper Ben Mowen, lock Sam Carter and prop Dan Palmer return to the starting XV with Leon Power and Scott Sio dropping out of the game-day 22 and Peter Kimlin moving to the bench.
As well as the clash against their bitter rivals, the Brumbies have also battled jetlag this week.
They insist their lack of sleep will not be used as an excuse for a poor performance and statistics show the Brumbies have performed well when returning from South Africa.
In the past 10 seasons, they have lost just four times when playing their first match back in Australia.
Half of White's 26-man touring squad was in South Africa for the first time on a Super Rugby tour.
They arrived back on Sunday night, but returned to training on Tuesday.
To combat the change in time zones, the Brumbies have consulted with the Australian Institute of Sport to try to discover the fastest way to recover.
Immediately after their match with the Lions in Johannesburg they tried to adjust to Australian time.
On arrival home, the players were advised to avoid outdoor activity in the morning, with increased sunlight exposure in the afternoons.