Brumbies to give youngsters second chance

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham says he’ll give his new charges another week to prove themselves after a sloppy Super Rugby loss to Melbourne on Saturday night.

Larkham was forced to make more than a dozen changes to his line-up for the clash at GIO Stadium, including the late withdrawal of scrumhalf Nic White because of an ankle injury suffered at training.

The side already had a host of big names missing, with Matt Toomua, Scott Sio, Jesse Mogg, Tevita Kuridrani and James Dargaville among those sidelined through injury.

Nigel Ah Wong, Lausii Taliauli and Michael Dowsett were all handed their starting debuts against the Rebels, while bench midfielder Rodney Iona got his first taste of Super Rugby in the 13-8 defeat.

Larkham said the the wet conditions meant there was little quality to the Brumbies’ game.

“We struggled to carry the ball there,” he said.

“We battled away, but we didn’t really make a lot of metres – and it wasn’t a game for making a lot of metres, the ball was too slippery.

“So we need to give those guys another opportunity next week to really see if they can step up.”

Skipper Stephen Moore praised his side’s reinforcements for their effort in clawing back from 13-0, but said it wasn’t their responsibility to prop up the Brumbies.

“It’s not up to guys who come in for their first game to win us a match – it’s up to the rest of us who’ve been there and played,” he said.

“That’s disappointing that the rest of us weren’t able to step up there.”

Larkham was hopeful the likes of Mogg, Kuridrani, White and Dargaville would be fit for Friday’s match against the Highlanders at home.

Pending the result of concussion tests, Lausil Taliauli should also be available for selection.

“We’ll know a little bit more on Tuesday,” he said.

Despite having lost three of their past four matches, The Brumbies remain atop the Australian conference ladder.

But the NSW Waratahs are hot on their heels after beating Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

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