A bonus-point win over the Highlanders doesn’t mean the Brumbies’ Super Rugby season is back on track, says coach Stephen Larkham.
The Canberra-based franchise held on for a 31-18 triumph at GIO Stadium on Friday night, converting four tries plus a penalty in the first half.
David Pocock piled on a hat-trick of tries within the opening 35 minutes on the back of a seemingly defenceless Brumbies rolling maul.
It marked their second victory in five games, having lost the previous two weeks to the Blues and Melbourne Rebels.
While they retain their place on top of the Australian conference standings, Larkham doesn’t believe a path to the finals is guaranteed.
“There’s still a long way to go in this competition,” he said.
“We say it all the time: Super Rugby is like playing a grand final every week – you’ve got to win every week.
“We’ve lost four games now.
“I know we’ve got a lot more bonus points than we had last year at this time, but we’ve got to continue to win from here on in.”
Their next match is against the NSW Waratahs, whose recent return to form has put them within striking distance of the Brumbies on the domestic ladder.
The defending champions won 28-13 at home in Sydney last month and have only lost once since.
Larkham is under no illusion the battle for the conference lead will heighten the already tense rivalry between the two sides in Canberra next Friday.
But he doesn’t want that to detract from what’s important on field.
“The focus on us will certainly be on our game, making sure our detail leading to that game is right … and not get carried away with the hype around the game – a top-of-the-table clash, the Brumbies versus Waratahs, which is traditionally a very heated encounter.”
Captain Stephen Moore said while the Brumbies needed the win over the Highlanders and had been boosted by the return of big names Tevita Kuridrani and Jesse Mogg from injury, their challenge was far from over.
“We need to get better next week,” he said.
“We need to certainly improve on our last outing against the Waratahs – they really gave it to us up there last time.
“So we’ll focus on how we can improve there, not just from this game gone but from the last time we played them.
“We certainly know we’re going to have to be a lot better than we were in Sydney.”