Brumbies' 'Kamp Staaldraad'
Cape Town – A mini "Kamp Staaldraad" and the Jake White-factor could potentially make the Brumbies tougher opponents in Canberra on Saturday than the Stormers might have anticipated prior to embarking on their Super Rugby tour Down Under.
It may not be a coincidence that the Brumbies displayed some mental steel at the weekend as they drew 13-all with the Western Force – just last Tuesday they had a tough evening training session in ice-cold conditions.
According to website Rugbyheaven, not even loose forward Rocky Elsom, who had a hamstring injury, was spared the session in the cold with shorts and singlets.
The session followed a scathing attack on the Brumbies by acting coach Tony Rea following their recent defeat against the Lions. He described them as soft and the training session was apparently aimed at toughening them up mentally.
White, the former Springbok coach that takes over as head coach from next year, also slotted in with the Aussies early last week. However, he is apparently not yet involved in a hands-on capacity with the team.
He and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee won the Rugby World Cup as coaching team in France in 2007 and their knowledge of one another could also bring about an interesting dynamic on Saturday.
The problem the Brumbies have is that seasoned players such as Matt Giteau (flyhalf), Adam Ashley-Cooper (utility back), Mark Chisholm (lock) and Salesi Ma’afu (prop) will be playing their rugby elsewhere after this season.
A team’s focus could easily suffer if it stands to lose so many senior players.
However, the rest of the players should be eager to impress White ahead of next season. Apart from that motivation, the Brumbies only have pride left to play for.
Meanwhile, the Stormers travelled from New Zealand to Australia at the weekend. They have set up camp in Sydney and will travel to Canberra on Friday.
While there is still likely to be some euphoria among supporters about the stirring comeback win over the Blues, an objective analysis of the game will show that the Stormers did not play well for large periods.
Coetzee was also not blind to the fact afterwards.
As an example, the Stormers lost three lineout balls inside the first six minutes and also made bad decisions by running the ball from their own 22m-area. There were also numerous handling errors.
“There is still a long way to go in the tournament and hard work ahead. We are now entering the toughest phase of the competition and our goal remains to make the play-offs. The win over the Blues was important for our confidence,” said Coetzee.
He may well have the option of a specialist flyhalf on his substitutes bench this week as Kurt Coleman has been asked to travel to Australia to replace the injured Lionel Cronjé in the squad.
Western Province director of coaching Rassie Erasmus has also joined up with the team.
Dewaldt Duvenage fared well as replacement flyhalf on Friday, but Coetzee will breathe a sigh of relief should his medical team inform him that Peter Grant is over his ankle injury ahead of Saturday’s game.