Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is confident the core of his squad will remain for the 2020 Super Rugby season, despite losing five of his most experienced players.
The Brumbies’ season ended at the hands of the Jaguares in the semi-finals on Saturday when they were thumped 39-7 in Buenos Aires.
It marked the final game for Christian Lealiifano, Rory Arnold, Henry Speight and Sam Carter, while David Pocock retired from Super Rugby earlier in the season.
Five-eighth Lealiifano leaves arguably the biggest hole, but McKellar was adamant he wouldn’t replace the 150-game veteran by signing an experienced No.10 in the off-season.
McKellar said he’ll instead look to his rookie playmaking stocks; Bayley Kuenzle, Noah Lolesio, Mack Hansen and Reesjan Pasitoa.
Hansen, 21, is the only one with any Super Rugby experience, which was one five-minute appearance off the bench earlier this year.
“There will be an opportunity for someone to step up at 10. I’ve said all along we’ve got some quality young guys coming through there and we’ll back them,” McKellar said.
“They’re not going to get better by not giving them opportunities. We’re confident in the guys we’ve got coming up through our club and we intend to back them.
“They’re young boys but that’s our job as coaches to develop them and bring them along at the right time.
“There’s plenty to work with and it’s an exciting time ahead for some of our young boys.”
Locks Arnold and Carter, and back-rower Pocock won’t be easily replaced, but McKellar believes his forward pack will remain one of the best in the competition next year.
“We lose Carter and Arnold but Darcy Swain is there waiting in the wings and it will be his time,” McKellar said.
“We’ve also got Blake Enever and Murray Douglas so there is still a lot of quality in and around the forward pack.
“We also still have a very good front row and back-row.”