Vodacom Super 14

Brumbies back light build-up

2009-04-09 09:01
Stirling Mortlock (File)

Canberra - Brumbies coach Andy Friend has backed his side's less than ideal preparation for Saturday's crucial Super 14 rugby clash with the Stormers in Canberra.

Still coming to terms with teammate Shawn Mackay's death, the Brumbies take on the struggling but capable South African outfit knowing a loss could leave them nine points from the top four and all but end their title claims.

With three losses from seven outings, and just two bonus points, Friend concedes they can't afford to drop another game, reports RugbyHeaven website.

"We spoke about that before (last week's win in the) Cheetahs game, we've just spoken about that (again), so it's a massively important game for us," Friend said on Thursday.

"We haven't got a lot of bonus points, we've only got two so far this season and that will eventually hurt you if you don't get them.

"But if you go out chasing bonus points you can bring yourself undone, so it's about winning the game and in the process if we can get four tries or more fantastic." The Brumbies, however, have trained little this week, having had only a light session on Wednesday before a team run on Thursday and will have their regular captain's run on Friday.

They have been getting over the long flight back from their South Africa trip and obviously are still dealing with the loss of popular teammate Mackay who died in a Durban hospital on Monday.

"We'll find out on Saturday," Friend said, when asked if the three sessions was the right preparation for what is a must-win clash.

"I believe it is though. You've got a long flight to get over, we normally would train our heaviest day on a Tuesday, but most people were falling asleep on Tuesday." "And then given the emotional stress the team's been under, there's been a lot of energy sapped, so I think the key thing is to focus on the core skills you need to get done, and then get out there on Saturday and do it." As a tribute to Mackay, the players will wear black arm bands for the rest of the season, while there will also be a moment's silence at this Saturday's match.

Flags at Canberra Stadium will fly at half mast.

Mackay, 26, died as a result of complications stemming from injuries he sustained when he was hit by a car following the Brumbies' loss to the Sharks in South Africa almost two weeks ago.

Wallabies tourist Peter Kimlin has been recalled to the Brumbies' starting pack in the place of injured lock Mark Chisholm.

Kimlin's promotion is one of two changes the Brumbies have made to their squad, with flanker Henry Vanderglas to make his Super 14 debut off the bench.

Canberra product Vanderglas, 23, has gained his call-up following standout performances with the Australian sevens team.

Brumbies: Mark Gerrard; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock, Tyrone Smith, Alfi Mafi; Christian Lealiifano, Joshua Holmes; Julian Salvi, George Smith (capt), Mitchell Chapman, Peter Kimlin, Ben Hand, Guy Shepherdson, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander.

Replacements: Huia Edmonds, Salesi Ma'afu, Sitaleki Timani, Henry Vanderglas, Patrick Phibbs, Gene Fairbanks, Francis Fainifo.

Read more on:    rugby  |  energy

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