NSW Waratahs captain Dave Dennis has no doubt a sense of unfinished business is fuelling the Brumbies’ quest for a first Super Rugby crown in more than a decade.
But Dennis says the Waratahs are just as motivated to go back to back.
The stage is certainly set for a desperately contested derby in Canberra on Friday night when top spot in the Australian conference goes on the line.
With three losses in their past five games, the Brumbies are clinging to a four-point advantage over the Waratahs, who have a game in hand on their arch-rivals heading into the business end of the competition.
While the Waratahs are taking comfort in having finally broken their notorious title drought in 2014, Dennis suspects the Brumbies’ grand final loss to the Chiefs a year earlier is driving their title push.
“They even said last year there was no secret that they were disappointed with that result in Hamilton two years go,” Dennis said.
“And that’s what’s still driving them. They still want to finish (the job).
“As a whole as a club, they’ve got a core group of senior players who are spending their final years there and they want to achieve something special.
“So they’ve definitely got internal motivations there.”
But so too do the Waratahs, with stalwarts Adam Ashley-Cooper, Wycliff Palu and Sekope Kepu, among others, heading offshore at the end of 2015.
“If you asked those guys, they’ll say they’re pretty motivated to try to finish this year well,” Dennis said.
“With this group of players, I honestly feel there’s still a lot of hunger there to try and maintain or achieve more success.
“We’re lucky I suppose in a sense that we’ve tasted it and that gives you a little bit more hunger.”