Brumbies have one eye on Super Rugby final

By AAP,

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    With a home Super Rugby quarter-final guaranteed, the Brumbies’ final-round clash with the Chiefs could give them a first-hand look at their playoff opponent.

    The Chiefs have a lot to gain from Saturday’s match in Hamilton, with a trip to Canberra to meet the Australian conference champions preferable to a trip to Johannesburg to face the Lions in the first week of the finals.

    Alternatively, the Hurricanes can book their passage to the Australian capital by toppling the unbeaten Crusaders in the match immediately after the Chiefs play the Brumbies.

    But if the Hurricanes lose and the Chiefs knock off an under-strengthened Brumbies, it will be the Waikato-based team making the trip to Canberra.

    While many teams tasted finals success in South Africa in recent years, the travel often brings them undone the following week.

    Since 2011, no team has won a title with an African leg in their finals campaign.

    For the Brumbies, the central focus is on the quarter-final with coach Stephen Larkham opting to rest a raft of stars.

    He said a six-day turnaround on the back of a tough trip to Hamilton, coupled with injuries prompted 12 changes to the starting line-up which was upset by the Queensland Reds last week.

    “It’s not a fly-in, fly-out,” Larkham told AAP.

    “It’s flights from Canberra to Sydney, Sydney to Auckland, a bus to Hamilton and then vice-versa on the way back.

    “It’s not so much about the result for us – it hasn’t been all year – it’s about making sure that we play the way we want to play.

    “It is about getting our best prep so that we give ourselves every chance of winning the game next week.”

    Chiefs’ All Blacks Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown have been rested after a gruelling series against the British and Irish Lions.

    “They’re playing pretty much their full-strength side bar three guys who’ve played all of the Test matches,” Larkham said.

    “That will give us a really good indication of what we need to do next week if we have them again.”

    Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera is one of three players who started against the Reds to retain his spot.

    He will play in his hometown of Hamilton after signing a two-year contract extension to stay in Canberra until the end of 2019.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • July 15th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      The luxury of being able to make 12 changes to rest up for a home quarter final without any consequence to the final standing. The Brumbies would be in a battle for 8th place with the Blues if the table was based on points. Not gonna lie, this gets on my wick when teams can rest up because of the conference system, when better teams like the Crusaders, Lions, Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders have to give it their all in the last weekend to secure their position. The Stormers have used the same resting farce as well in previous year(s). An absolute joke…

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:14am
        Fionn said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Those teams don’t have to play full strength to secure their place, they’re choosing to play a full strength side in order to maximise their draws.

        Last year, the Lions played a B team in the final round of the competition despite the fact it meant that they lost the home final.

        I just don’t really have a problem with it as similar things happen in the final rounds of round robin tournaments all the time when resting players becomes more important than matches they don’t overly impact final standings.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 9:39am
          Ed said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          I disagree this is the best way to prepare for a final against a NZ side.

          Rest some players who may have played much of the test series, but twelve?

          So the returning players next Friday will lift their attack, skills and thought processes from their poor effort against the Reds by resting this week? Unless they train like Federer/Nadal etc, I can’t see a full-strength Brumbies raising to that level.

          And if the Brumbies get smashed this arvo, it won’t make it easier to lift interest to buy tickets for next Friday.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 10:31am
            Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Ed – Even though the resting is a farce, I agree it has the potential to backfire also. The Tahs’ thrashing at the hands of the Crusaders in 2002 is a classic example of a B team last round resting. The Tahs’ got soundly beaten by the Brumbies the following week in the SF. Also it has backfired on the Stormers before as well, maybe even twice by memory for the Stormers.

            • July 15th 2017 @ 11:05am
              Ed said | July 15th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              Pinetree – I agree.
              I was at the 2002 semi where the Brumbies smashed us. The Tahs were so off the pace in that match, plus the Brums did have a superior team if you look at the team lists.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 10:22am
          Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          The Lions conceded the home final by playing a B team in the last round, so they actually had a risk playing a B team. Regardless, the Lions were not resting players to reap benefits from a broken conference system, unlike the Brumbies who are under no risk. Pity the Chiefs cannot rest players without any risk…

    • July 15th 2017 @ 8:07am
      robert said | July 15th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      complete disgrace, now the aussie teams will go the whole season without betting a team from nz, and larkham just making a joke about the whole situation by naming a b team after being gifted a final, australia rugby is bringing the whole comp down the sooner they drop a tean the better

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:15am
        Fionn said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        How exactly is Larkham making a joke about it?

        • July 15th 2017 @ 10:38am
          Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          Resting players from a massive leg up in the conference system is bordering on poor sportsmanship for your own selfish needs.A bit of an underarm bowl to the comp.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 4:10pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

            Oh pullleeeeese!

            How many times have we heard Kiwis try to invalidate Australian Super Rugby and Rugby Championship wins during World Cup years, “because the All Blacks were resting players”. It is a perfectly legitimate strategic choice by a coach during a long season, Larkham should be commended for using his brains.

            As for your constant whinging about the conference system, get over it. It was what was agreed by the NZRU at the beginning of the season and it isn’t going to stop the best team winning the competition. The only complete disgrace here is your misappropriation of the nickname of one of the hardest men in New Zealand rugby history, because you carry on like a big sook.

            • July 15th 2017 @ 4:27pm
              Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

              Would the Brumbies be resting players if they were playing for 8th spot? The NZRU has made comments against the current system, and most kiwis and SA’s agree it should change to position on table by merit of points.

              What benefit does the current system give opposed to placing on total points? Certainly does not attract more revenue, as the Aus fans seem to have lost interest already even before the playoffs begin.

              Why do you continue to support a system where it is based on equality of outcome, opposed to equality of opportunity which is founded on merit?

              • July 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

                Where did I say that I support the current system? I just said that I am sick to death of reading you whine about it, it is just about the only thing you write here. It isn’t going to change before the end of the season and if the NZRU and the SARU don’t like it the current way it is likely to change, so why keep peppering this board with your stupid comments? There are several things wrong with the Super Rugby draw that are far more significant, the inclusion of the Jaguars and Sunwolves which are essentially the Argentine and Japanese teams and an African group that doesn’t have to play a single NZ team spring to mind, but you don’t see others here constantly moaning about that.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 5:12pm
                Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

                While the conference system is something I bang on about every few months when relevant, but to say I am “constantly moaning” is complete hyperbole. I can assure you that the majority of my posts by a long way are not about the conference system. That comment is simply rubbish Rhys.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 5:32pm
                Pinetree said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                In fact, the last time I probably mentioned the conference system was in March/April, and considering I post pretty much daily, that just shows that for some reason, you have only noticed my posts when I mention the Conference system, which is not actually that often. We all have things that we bang on about more than others, and you are no different Rhys…

    • July 15th 2017 @ 8:31am
      Darwin Stubbie said | July 15th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Of course they can fly Canberra to Wellington direct and then connect a domestic to Hamilton …

    • July 15th 2017 @ 9:11am
      Ron49 said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      If the Brumbies are replacing 12 rubbish players with even worse replacements, then what’s the point of making the trip? A contemptuous gesture. After all, the Chiefs also have a quarter final next week but have selected their best team with the justifiable omission of three All Blacks involved in the Lions series. Surely the honorable way would be to forfeit the game thus enabling refunds to be made (at the Brumbies ‘expense) to the Chiefs season ticket holders. Another deplorable chapter in what is Australian Rugby 2017.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 9:44am
      Republican said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      …….This is a non event, a fait accompli.The huge gap between Australian & NZ Union will again be exposed this weekend v Chiefs.
      No matter how you talk up the Brumbies, they won’t win while I doubt that they will even be competitive.
      False hope is an abject waste of energy……..

      • July 15th 2017 @ 11:43am
        The Sheriff said | July 15th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Can’t argue with this comment!

    • July 15th 2017 @ 10:01am
      BL said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      SANZAAR in their franchise licence protocol insist that Super Rugby Franchises select their best players for game days !

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