The Canberra-based Brumbies showed their remarkable grit by shrugging off a long-haul flight to Cape Town to trounce the Stormers 39-19 in their qualifying final on Saturday.
The return flight to Canberra and connecting leg to Wellington will eat into the team’s preparations against the Hurricanes, who have enjoyed the luxury of a week’s break for earning top spot on the table at the end of the regular season.
“You’ve just got to dig deep and find that extra little bit,” long-serving Brumbies captain Stephen Moore told Australian media. “There’s no avoiding the fact that (the travel) is not ideal.
“But that’s when the character of the side comes in. I’m confident that there’s enough character in the side to be able to take our game to another level, which we are going to need to do.”
In all likelihood, they will need to do that without winger Henry Speight, who was cited for a dangerous, lifting tackle and could be banned for the rest of the playoffs.
But Moore’s faith in his team’s resolve is not misplaced.
The Brumbies came within a whisker of their third Super Rugby title in 2013 after an odyssey which took in a semi-final win over the Bulls in Pretoria and ended with a tight loss in the final to the Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand.
For coach Stephen Larkham, momentum will be the most heartening take-away from Cape Town, where the Brumbies, in his view, played one of their best games in two years.
“We were probably a little bit embarrassed with our scrummaging out of the last game, the round game when we were over here and I thought the boys turned it around,” he said.
“They had a fantastic night in the forward pack tonight both at scrum time and defensive lineout time I thought we were outstanding.
“It’s a qualifying final played at Newlands and we win by 20 points, it’s a pretty special day.”
The defending champion New South Wales Waratahs host Otago Highlanders in the other semi-final on Saturday, raising novel hopes of a first All-Australian final among local fans. – Reuters
Original source: Brumbies ‘can blow away Hurricanes’