Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham was impressed with his side’s gutsy effort in their 25-18 win over the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning (AEDT), but admits there will be plenty of work ahead of hosting the Chiefs in Canberra next Saturday night.
Larkham was pleased the off-field disarray gripping the Canberra-based side, and in particular embattled CEO Michael Jones, proved to be no distraction for the squad.
“There was good focus this week from the boys,” Larkham said.
“A bit of turmoil back home, but hopefully that will be sorted out next week when we get back.
“Internally, we just had 100 per cent focus on the game.
“There was a little bit of disappointment last week with the result of the game (losing 31-11 to the Stormers in Cape Town), and it’s a tough week coming up to Bloemfontein.
It was a physical game, there were contests across the park, and it was a really gutsy effort from the boys.”
Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore emphasised the importance of winning Super Rugby games on the road, ahead of the Chiefs and their first bye coming up in a fortnight.
“It was a really important win for us,” Moore said.
“We spoke a lot about that during the week, we were really disappointed how we played last week, so to come away from our tour (of Perth and South Africa) with two wins out of three, you know, we’d probably take that.
“Really important game now when we get home against the Chiefs.
“We saw how well they played (beating the Western Force 53-10 in Hamilton), so it’s going to be important for us to recover well and play really well there before the bye.”
Larkham lauded the breakdown work of his forwards in the win, but particularly Wallabies flanker David Pocock, before recognising an area to work on when the side returns home.
“I thought David Pocock had a tremendous game; one of the best games I’ve seen him have, both over the ball at the breakdown and his contact work in defence was outstanding tonight,” he said.
“Across the park it was a contest.
“It was a contest when they had the ball and it was a contest when we had the ball, and particularly when we had the ball, there will be aspects of that, that were not happy with.
I think they beat us to the ball a couple of times there, but defensively they didn’t really get a roll on.”
The Brumbies are now four points clear in the Australian conference, after the Melbourne Rebels were beaten 27-6 by the Highlanders.