4 June 2024

The Brumbies' performances so far this year have effectively saved the club

| Tim Gavel
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Swain in the lineout in wet conditions in May this year when the Brumbies played the Waratahs in Sydney. Photo Jayzie Photography.

In the leadup to the start of the Super Rugby season, there was some wild speculation about the future of the Brumbies.

The reason was the club’s dire financial status.

Mind you, this is set within the context of the poor financial position of the code in Australia.

The correlation between on-field performance and the off-field predicament of the Brumbies wasn’t lost on the playing group.

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At the pre-season launch, skipper Allan Ala’alatoa provided an insight into the mindset of the playing group.

“Everyone wants security in life. As a playing group, the important thing is how we deal with it and focus on the things we can control.”

ACT Brumbies captain Allan Ala’alatoa (left) at training. Photo: Brumbies Media.

ACT Brumbies captain Allan Ala’alatoa (left) at training. Photo: Brumbies Media.

Ala’alatoa says the uncertainty isn’t all bad news for the playing group.

“I think it adds to the motivation. As players, we want to go out and do our best for the jersey and the club because that is going to put us in a better situation.”

At times throughout the regular season, the Brumbies displayed an ability to win games when their performance was below par.

The 27-19 victory over the Hurricanes was the highlight, while the losses to the Chiefs and the Blues were the low points.

Brumbies win the lineout close to the Crusaders try line at GIO Stadium in May 2024. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

ACT Brumbies against the Crusaders in May this year. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

In between, there were displays of high-level play equal to that shown against the Hurricanes, while there were also a couple of average performances.

The Brumbies were far from convincing against the Crusaders, the Fijian Drua and the Force, but on each occasion, they did enough to win.

It provides an insight into the winning mindset of the playing group, especially when the side is struggling with their set pieces.

When things haven’t been going well, as in the 53-17 victory over the Rebels when the Brumbies struggled with three players yellow carded in the second half, the senior players stood up. The final score does not reflect the closeness of the game.

Tom Wright. Photo: Brumbies Rugby.

Tom Wright shows his ability against the Fijian Drua in 2023. Photo: Brumbies Rugby.

Tom Wright was outstanding in that game, while against the Waratahs in Sydney, it was Rob Valentini carrying the Brumbies to victory.

In the quarter-final against the Highlanders on Saturday night (8 June), the Brumbies can’t be reliant on individuals. Against NZ teams, a win requires a total team performance.

They will need to be far more physical than they were against the Force, and the scrum will need to be better than it was against the Crusaders and the Drua.

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What should give the Brumbies supporters cause for optimism is the 27-21 win over the Highlanders — the Brumbies first win at Forsyth Barr Stadium since 2013.

But the Highlanders have shown in the past they aren’t daunted by playing at Canberra Stadium – the 15-9 victory in 2016 is evidence enough.

The Brumbies, though, appear to be a side with an inner strength this season, the basis of which appears to be derived from many sources, including the security of the franchise.

The great Brumbies teams of the past, in the era of Gregan, Larkham, Smith and Roff, had this quality.

This current Brumbies team can write their own chapter replicating the club’s glory days.

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