Pocock, Brumbies want to dazzle with attack to ignite Canberra support
Advertisement

Pocock, Brumbies want to dazzle with attack to ignite Canberra support

David Pocock is fit, Quade Cooper is set to launch his comeback and the ACT Brumbies want to play a style of rugby to "inspire the next generation".

There have been plenty of reasons to steer clear of Australian rugby in recent years, contributing to Brumbies crowds dropping to their lowest point in history last season.

David Pocock has recovered from neck and calf problems to be fit for round one.

David Pocock has recovered from neck and calf problems to be fit for round one.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

But Pocock and the Brumbies hope to bury the past and convince fans to jump back on board when they begin their Super Rugby season against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.

Pocock has declared himself fit for the season-opener at Canberra Stadium, overcoming a niggling calf problem and neck injury after a three-month break from games.

Advertisement
Loading

Cooper is set to make his Rebels debut in the same game and the Australian derby is the start of a World Cup year where players will be jostling for Wallabies selection.

The Brumbies want to build on the style of attack they started to implement at the end of last season to lure their fans back to the stands.

Their clash against the Rebels will be the first time they have played at home in round one since the start of the 2016 campaign.

"Hopefully seeing the Brumbies play some exciting rugby," Pocock said when asked why supporters should turn up.

"We've been working on our game. Last year, it's always tough with new coaches. But I think we're a lot more on top of the way we want to play and we've got the players to be able to do that.

"So hopefully we play rugby that inspires young kids to play the game, boys and girls, and hopefully entertains people when they do come down to Canberra Stadium."

The Brumbies are hoping fans return to the stands this yaer.

The Brumbies are hoping fans return to the stands this yaer.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Brumbies missed the finals last year for the first time since 2012 and rugby's disillusioned fan base started disappearing across the country.

Brumbies crowd figures dropped to an average of 8391 people per game, the lowest point since the start of Super Rugby in 1996.

Loading

But there is a buzz simmering just below the surface and the Brumbies know the best way to get fans back to the games is by winning with an attractive style.

The Brumbies find their attacking groove towards the end of last season and won four of their last five games.

The change in attitude and flair was triggered by a loss to the Rebels at home, which scrumhalf Joe Powell says the players are still filthy about.

The Brumbies led 24-10 in that match at home, before the Rebels stormed back into the contest to snatch a 27-24 victory.

Loading

"Thinking back on last season, I would probably put that as our low point of the year," Powell said.

"We led and were playing pretty good footy, but they stepped up in the second half and we didn't match them. It was really disappointing, so that's probably in the back of everyone's mind."

The Brumbies lost both games against the Rebels last season and have won just one of the past four games between the teams.

The Rebels have recruited Cooper and former Brumbies back-rower Isi Naisarani to an all-star squad of Wallabies, led by coach Dave Wessels.

"It's great for Australian rugby to have players like Quade Cooper in the mix and playing," Pocock said as the enigmatic playmaker prepares to play his first game in almost two years.

"People love watching him play. He's certainly one of the most talented players I've played alongside and against. You look at [the Rebels] and they've got a lot of depth and experienced players now."

SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE

Friday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm.

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading
Advertisement