Holmes says best is yet to come

Holmes says best is yet to come

He scored 22 points on debut last week, and is being touted as the ACT Brumbies' unlikely saviour.

But rookie flyhalf Zack Holmes insists that performance was far from his best, and he isn't fazed by the prospect of doing battle with Queensland Reds whiz Quade Cooper in Saturday's blockbuster at Canberra Stadium.

Zack Holmes of the Brumbies scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies at Westpac Stadium on May 18 in Wellington.

Zack Holmes of the Brumbies scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies at Westpac Stadium on May 18 in Wellington.

Photo: Getty Images

Drafted into the Brumbies' No.10 jersey following season-ending knee injuries to Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano, Holmes was outstanding in last week's 37-25 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Taking on the defending champion in front of a packed home crowd, to virtually seal a finals spot, is a totally different proposition.

But Holmes, who turns 22 next Wednesday, intends to embrace the challenge. ''You try not to think about it [the expectation] too much, that's out of my control,'' Holmes said yesterday.


''I'm not quite as nervous this week, I'm feeling a bit more comfortable even though it's a really big game. For me it's about building on last week and there's things I can work on, I don't think that's the best I can play.''

The Brumbies' structured style has helped Holmes ease his way into the most influential position on the field.

Cooper's Reds are known for playing a more off-the-cuff style, and Holmes said it would be foolish to try and emulate the freakish football the Wallabies star can produce.

Cooper played 40 minutes in his return from a knee reconstruction against the Lions last week, and is tipped to play the full match against the Brumbies.

The Reds are currently eight points behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference, and will also gain four points with a bye next week.

''You can't predict what Quade will do, but you know what he can bring to a game,'' Holmes said. ''It's just being aware of what he can do but not focus on him too much.

''There's things he can do that nobody else can and everybody knows that, but I think most five-eighths would look at his game and try and emulate some of the things he does.''

However, Holmes insisted the perception Queensland lives and dies by 'razzle dazzle' football is largely a myth.

''The Reds probably aren't as structured, but they still do play quite a simple game plan in terms of not playing any footy in their own half,'' Holmes said.

''Last year Quade and [Will] Genia had the second and third most kicks in the competition, so it's not like they're just throwing balls from side to side, and making breaks from their own 22.

''They do play a structured game, but when Quade gets the ball he has free rein so to speak.''

Nic White is tipped to replace Ian Prior as starting scrumhalf, meaning one of Super Rugby's least experienced halves combinations will face arguably the game's best in Cooper and Genia.

''Whitey backs himself and doesn't die wondering, that's similar to my game,'' Holmes said. ''We both back our abilities and this week it's about our communication and making sure we're on the same page.''

The West Australian insisted he was always destined to play rugby, despite being an outstanding junior in athletics and soccer.

He held a handful of national titles on the track and trained with the Perth Glory Academy for a period.

However, he believes both sports had helped shape his rugby game. ''With my goalkicking, soccer's definitely played a part, and with my running athletics has helped that.''

Brumbies No.8 Fotu Auelua remains in serious doubt for the match after copping a couple of head knocks against the Hurricanes.

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