Brumbies coach Dan McKellar believes that Australian rugby teams aren’t respected in New Zealand and the only way to win that respect back is by beating the Highlanders on Saturday.
McKellar is challenging his players to end the Brumbies’ four-year drought against Trans-Tasman opponents and earn some respect back.
“I think Australian teams in Super Rugby at the moment, in New Zealand, aren’t respected,” he said.
“We’ve got to go about changing that. We’ve had a really good week, we take confidence out of our performance against the Reds but understand that what we did against the Reds isn’t going to cut it in Dunedin.”
“This is a real opportunity for us to earn some respect as a club and put a line in the sand because I think we’re all a little bit sick of talking about the hoodoo that apparently exists.”
The Brumbies have confidence and momentum on their side after last weeks come from behind win over the Queensland Reds. The Brumbies attack clicked into gear and the home side ran rampant in a 24-point win over the injury-hit Australian conference rivals.
McKellar said that close results against the Highlanders in recent years and a win back in 2013 are reasons why the hoodoo will end on Saturday night.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play and ready to play for 80 minutes. If you look at our results in New Zealand, there aren’t too many times when it’s been one-sided,” he said.
“It’s just been critical moments in the game that we haven’t won. We’ve got to change that.”
“We understand we need to be really good on Saturday night in Dunedin to ensure we get another result, and if we do that, we’ll get some respect.”
The Brumbies have made just one change to their starting XV, with Tom Cusack to replace the injured Lachlan McCaffrey at blindside flanker.
Co-captain Sam Carter will start on the bench for the second game in a row and will aim use his end-of-game leadership to lead the Brumbies to victory.
Next match: Highlanders vs Brumbies at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Saturday 5:35 pm. Live on Fox Sports.
Brumbies: 15. Tom Banks, 14. James Dargaville, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Chance Peni, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Matt Lucas, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. David Pocock, 6. Tom Cusack, 5. Rory Arnold, 4. Blake Enever, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Folau Faingaa, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Nic Mayhew, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Sam Carter, 20. Michael Oakman-Hunt, 21. Joe Powell, 22. Kyle Godwin, 23. Andrew Smith.