The Brumbies are banking on a full week of training to get them back in the groove of Super Rugby as they go full throttle at securing Australia’s sole guaranteed finals berth.
The Canberra-based franchise ensured they remained at the top of the local conference heading into the pentultimate round of the regular season with a 43-24 bonus-point win over Queensland at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
An extra win earlier in the year means they will stay ahead of the NSW Waratahs after this weekend, regardless of the outcome of the Tahs’ clash with Japan’s Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
But co-captain Christian Lealiifano said the Brumbies – chasing their first title since 2004 – are keeping their focus narrow.
They play the Blues in Auckland next Friday before hosting the bottom-ranked Western Force on July 16.
“All the cliches are there – take it a week at a time,” Lealiifano said.
“But we haven’t really thought about setting anything up. I’m glad we get a full week to train better and prepare better for the next game and that’s all we can do.”
The Reds shocked the Brumbies with their physicality in a rather lacklustre and bumbling first half, but the home side came through to score six tries to three.
Coach Stephen Larkham admitted they lost their shape in attack at the start but expected as much, given they had had just one proper session together mid-week with almost several players involved in the Wallabies’ Test series.
“We’re only going to be better for it,” he said.
“It’s a matter of getting a bit of consistency at training, working out our combinations and making sure we’re ticking off the areas of the game that we need to tick off.”
Their depth in the back-row will be put the ultimate test, after No.8 Ben Hyne rolled his ankle just five minutes into his Super Rugby debut.
He is set to join David Pocock (eye socket) and Jordan Smiler (knee) in the casualty ward, alongside Wallabies winger Joe Tomane (knee) who is also a “little way off”.
“We’re going to make sure that he gets back to full health before we push him out there because our wingers are doing a fantastic job,” Larkham added.