Brumbies lighten load before Super semi

The Brumbies will limit themselves to just one full day of training this week, in a bid to prevent fatigue ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Hurricanes.

The Canberra-based franchise arrived home from Cape Town late on Monday following their win over the Stormers, and on Thursday will fly out to Wellington.

Prop Scott Sio said sleep and stretching had been their main focus in battling any jetlag, with Wednesday the only proper hit-out before the match.

“Yesterday was a bit of a lighter load coming off a travel day, just to freshen up our bodies,” Sio said ahead of his 50th appearances for the Brumbies.

“It’s been a mixture of things – stretching, getting in hot-cold baths, making sure that the body is ready to go at training.

“We’ll be looking forward to getting the brunt of our work done today, travel tomorrow, the captain’s run on Friday and hit the ground running on Saturday.”

Sio said lessons had been learned from their experience in 2013, when the Chiefs came from behind to beat the worn-out Brumbies in the final in Hamilton.

The outfit had travelled to Pretoria in South Africa to play the Bulls the week before, leaving them “dead” – according to then-coach Jake White.

“I think the mental fatigue really sets in,” said Sio, adding that the reserves would play a crucial role in managing the team’s workload.

“Our bench has added some great impact and have been a lot of value there throughout the season.

“Nothing will change this weekend – when they’re called upon, they’ll come on looking to make a difference and really finish the game off for us.”

The Brumbies haven’t played the Hurricanes this year, but Sio said they’d done a lot of homework on the New Zealand outfit.

He believes defence will be key to winning the match and securing a place in the grand final.

“With so many attacking weapons – Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea and so forth – you can’t give them the time and space they want to create those opportunities,” he said.

“You’ve (also) got to look at guys like (James) Broadhurst, Ardie Savea, Ben Franks – they’ve all had stellar seasons and they’re all working for each other at the moment. Which is the biggest thing we’ve noticed – they’re always supporting each other in attack and hunting well in defence.

“We know as an eight it’s going to take a huge effort, we’ve got to rally around each other making sure we can match them – or even better them, because that’s what it’s going to take to win on Saturday.”

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