Laurie Fisher says Super Rugby Trans-Tasman's toughest road trip is a chance for the ACT Brumbies to stand up for Australian rugby despite clubs being written off by the bookmakers.
Australian clubs are given little chance of winning the competition with their New Zealand counterparts installed in the first five lines of betting.
The Brumbies and Queensland Reds are the Australian sides most likely to contend for the title but even they are seen as outsiders compared to all five Kiwi franchises.
The Brumbies kick off the most menacing of road trips when they face the Canterbury Crusaders in round one of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman in Christchurch on Saturday.
A clash with the favourites is followed by away games against the Waikato Chiefs and Auckland Blues, who round out the bookmakers' best bets. NSW boast the longest odds at $501.
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"That certainly is an incentive, isn't it? To put your best foot forward, not only for yourselves, but for Australian rugby," Fisher said.
"Super Rugby AU competition this year has been superb. You don't know where you stand until you play them. It's a different style of game.
"They're very much a zing that ball around, ball in play type of team, so contrasting styles will be interesting.
"Our challenge will be to impose a bit of our rugby on the Crusaders, Chiefs and Blues, but also be able to counter what they deliver in that free-running game."
The Brumbies will take a 28-man squad to New Zealand for the two-and-a-half week tour but some key players will be left behind.
Andy Muirhead [ankle] and Cadeyrn Neville [shoulder], who have been among the club's best this year, will miss the flight as they await scan results in hope of a return this season.
Neville's absence could open the door for 21-year-old Bathurst product Tom Hooper to make his debut against the Crusaders this weekend.
The loss of Muirhead means Solomone Kata firms for a return to fray for the first time this year after featuring in the John I Dent Cup.
"Everybody in the squad will get an opportunity, and chances are some who are left behind might get an opportunity at the back end as well," Fisher said.
"It's all hands on deck, everybody has got to be ready and when you get your chance, you've got to take your chance.
"We're a little bit battered physically and emotionally, but the boys have trained really well this week and are looking forward to the challenge.
"I know we'll go over there and give a good account of ourselves."
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE
Saturday: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport.
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