Powell pumped for playing time

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Having spent the back half of 2017 playing the majority of his rugby on the training track, Joe Powell can't wait for the start of Super Rugby to roll around.

After a breakout year with the Brumbies, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika handed the 23-year-old a Test debut against Fiji in the June series.

He added two further caps to that tally but for the remainder of the year, Will Genia and Nick Phipps were the preferred option in the match day 23.

That meant plenty of training track extras for Powell and he would often do sprints up and down the sideline after a training session with the Wallabies, well aware that he had to put it in extras to maintain his fitness level without the rigours of game day.

"I had an exciting year, last year," Powell said in Canberra on Tuesday.Powell was a regular in Wallabies squads last year. Photo: Getty Images"I probably went even better than I thought I would.

"This year is about improving that, not going backwards."

While Powell will compete with Matt Lucas and Ryan Lonergan for the starting halfback job, it is his to lose.

That excites Powell, who welcomed a month away from football after plenty of training with close to no game time on the Spring Tour.

"I had a lot of training and not much footy so it was good to get some time away," he said.

"We had a month off where I didn't really think about any footy stuff and that was really good for me.Powell should get first crack at halfback. Photo: Getty Images"In my first year with the Brumbies I did a fair bit of training as well so it's something that wasn't too foreign.

"Obviously it's a lot better when you're preparing for games week in, week out but it's obviously a good time to work on things.

"You don't have any little niggles that you need to get through so my body was feeling really good, as I wasn't playing much rugby."

One player that won't be alongside Powell come round one is David Pocock, with news the star flanker will be missing for at least the first month of the Super Rugby season breaking Sunday.

That's a huge blow to a club looking to defend their Australian Conference title but Powell backed the likes of Tom Cusack to fill the void.Pocock won't be back in Brumbies colours until at least round five. Photo: Getty Images"Obviously we would like to have (Pocock) playing straightaway but I think just getting his head around being back in camp and his mindset on things is a big boost as well," Powell said.

"It's disappointing that he won't be playing for three months but it's good to have him back."

The team is being put to the test with a surprise camp from Wednesday through Friday.

Just what they will be put through remains a mystery to all parties bar coach Dan McKellar and an intrepid Powell sported a grin when asked what he thought may lie ahead.

"We know that it's going from Wednesday to Friday - that's about it," he said.

"We're not sure if we are going to be doing rugby or some random activities.

"It's always good to set our goals and set what our team is about for the year."

The Brumbies kick off their Super Rugby season against the Sunwolves in Japan on February 24, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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