Brumbies to block out the bull
Sydney - Rookie prop Scott Sio has warned the Brumbies risk being overwhelmed
in the Super Rugby semi-final if they get caught up in the South
African hype before they play the Bulls.
The clash is a perfect chance
to show he can handle a hostile environment, but Sio insists his
Wallabies ambitions are on hold as the Brumbies chase a championship
The Brumbies are aiming to defy history by beating the Bulls
in Pretoria on Saturday to win a place in the
grand final. If they do, they will be the first team to beat the Bulls
at Loftus Versfeld in a finals match.
Sio, 21, admitted the task of beating the Bulls was
daunting. But the fringe Test front-rower said the Brumbies' ''tight
bond'' would boost their title hopes.
''Over the past two years we've formed really tight bonds and that's why our game plan has been so effective,'' Sio said.
''Everyone has bought into it. It's a team chemistry that
we've got and it's going to be the biggest thing for us, being able to
draw on each other in the tough times.
''We're under no illusion, we know it's going to be tough. It
can be overwhelming if you don't approach it in the right way, so we
have to get that spot on.''
The Brumbies arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday and will base
themselves there for most of the week. They will travel to Pretoria on
Friday to finalise preparations.
Having to fly 14 hours to South Africa and acclimatise immediately puts the Brumbies on the back foot.
Sio has never played against the Bulls in Pretoria. He was
part of the travelling party when the Brumbies lost 36-34 last year, but
not in the game-day squad.
But Sio was adamant the travel, a brutal game against the
Cheetahs in the opening final and 50 000 rabid Bulls fans would not be
used as an excuse for a poor performance.
The Brumbies are facing an exhausting journey to the championship if they get through the clash with the Bulls.
A final in either Canberra or Chiefs would mean the Brumbies have travelled almost 30 000 kilometres in the past three weeks.
Sio is pushing his claims to be included in new coach Ewen McKenzie's first Wallabies squad.
Sio, a former Waratahs junior, has not spoken to
McKenzie since he took over the coaching reins from Robbie Deans earlier
this month. But he hopes strong performances in the finals will help
him continue his rise to earn his first Test cap.
Despite playing less than 20 Super Rugby matches, Sio was
called into the Wallabies' extended squad for the series against the
British and Irish Lions.
He has secured a regular place in the game-day 22-man squad
only this season and has a handful of starting appearances to his name.
But his scrummaging was crucial in ensuring the Brumbies beat the
Cheetahs and he is eyeing off a spot in the Wallabies' Rugby
''I haven't heard from Ewen, I've just been told like everyone else that he's going to pick a squad on August 5,'' Sio said.
''There's nothing you can do about it. All you can focus on
is this weekend. My parents always told me to never take anything for
granted. When the time comes around, I'd be more than happy and proud if
the chance happens.
''But all my goals are [focused on] the Brumbies.''