17 November 2023

Another 18 reasons for Rugby Australia to leave the Brumbies alone

| Tim Gavel
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Brumbies under 19s vs Warratah's at Seiford Oval in the 2023 final. Photo: Brumbies Rugby Facebook.

Brumbies under-19s played the Waratahs in a thrilling final at Seiffert Oval. Photo: Brumbies Rugby Facebook.

If ever Rugby Australia needed proof that the Brumbies are the heart and soul of the code in this country, they should look no further than the Super Rugby under-19s series.

This age group has been dominated by NSW and Queensland teams for many years.

While the Brumbies management appears to be fighting a rear-guard action against Rugby Australia to preserve their entity and future in Canberra, the rugby side of the business continues unabated.

The Brumbies went through the entire under-19s competition undefeated, accounting for the Waratahs 20-12 in a spirited final at Seiffert Oval.

Player of the 2023 U19s Final, Lachie Hooper

Player of the 2023 U19s Final, Lachie Hooper. Photo: Brumbies Rugby Facebook.

It was further evidence of the pathways in place for young players seeking to be professionals in a Super Rugby franchise.

Now 18 players from that Brumbies team have been selected in the Australian under-20s squad.

That’s another 18 reasons why Rugby Australia should adopt the Brumbies program rather than destabilise it.

READ ALSO Quinzo’s memorial service unites generations of Brumbies as they farewell a legend

The hope is that the Brumbies can keep the likes of Lachlan Hooper, Shane Wilcox, Tevita Alatini, Cullen Gray, Toby MacPherson, Dan Nelson, Lington Ieli, Angus Staniforth and Tino Tavana.

Several of these players have come from other states seeking an opportunity and have thrived in the Brumbies system.

As a bonus for the players selected in the 45-player squad is the naming of former Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher as an assistant to head coach Nathan Grey.

A hands-on coach; Laurie Fisher. Photo: Twitter.

Laurie Fisher – a hands-on coach. Photo: Twitter.

The players will soon find out he is more than an assistant, with many regarding him as one of the top forwards coaches in the world.

The Australian under-20s, formerly known as the Junior Wallabies, will play in the first ever under-20s Rugby Championship in May ahead of the World Championships.

It is a crucial stepping stone for the next generation of rugby players in Australia, made even more vital as we prepare for the next World Cup.

The focus of Rugby Australia should be very much on building for the future as opposed to paying big money to entice NRL players into the code.

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Not surprising a number of NSW U19 players jumped to the Brumbies; a true meritocracy.

Unlike NSW Waratahs whose coach from Sydney Uni picked his own inferior players in key positions, particularly the backrow. It turned out to bite him (and the other NSW players) in the process.

There’s an immediate lesson for RA (and NSW) – choose a coach who is cempetent and unbiased.

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