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Stephen Hoiles: What We Learnt from Brumbies v British & Irish Lions

  
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19/06/2013
By Stephen Hoiles


OPINION

1. Brumbies create history 

 
What a remarkable performance from the Brumbies. Last night's upset win will give the Australian conference leaders a huge boost leading into the clubs first semi-final appearance since 2004. They started extremely well, built pressure and in the end had enough composure to to hold off a slow starting yet strong finishing Lions team. 
 
2.Will this Lions loss help or hinder the Qantas Wallabies? 
 
An upset loss can go either way to the losing team. Although it was a very weak Lions team that struggled with mid field combinations, it was the lineout that caused major disruption to the flow of the visitors. The Lions Test team will use the disappointing loss as motivation and will desperately want to turn things around this Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
 
3. Lions Squad lacked depth at 10
 
There were some question asked when only two number 10s were named in their initial touring squad. Stuart Hogg, the young Scottish 15 was thrust unfairly into the number 10 Jumper and the decision backfired. By the time Owen Farrell entered the game, things improved somewhat, but they simply ran out of time. Has picking only two Test number 10s potentially derailed their whole campaign? 
 
4. Breakdown dominance was the key 
 
All year we have seen the breakdown efficiency from the Brumbies dominate oppositions, that again last night was the highlight from the home team. The Lions will no doubt spend a little extra time over the next few days focusing on this part of their game.  
 
Players like Scott Fardy, Colby Faiingaa and Scott Sio along with several other Brumbies were so effective and strong over the ball. They completely outplayed the Lions at the breakdown. 
 
The Brumbies base their game plan around defensive pressure and breakdown accuracy & last night  these two aspects won them the game. 
 
5. Qantas Wallabies Test team. 
 
Will last night's result have any bearing on Robbie Deans' selection for the Test series? Some performances cannot be ignored. Peter kimlin is in career best form and absolutely deserves to be in this week's Wallaby team. He is versatile, abrasive & never before been this confident with his own game. 
 
There was so much spoken about Quade Cooper missing from the 31 man squad that somehow Matt Tomoua has been relatively unmentioned. I first saw the man they call "Pup" at the age of 17 when he joined the Brumbies whilst still in year 12. Watching his development over the last two seasons has been very satisfying. He has matured into the most composed  number 10 in Australia. Stephen Larkham, the Brumbies assistant coach has had a huge impact on him. His ability to control a game plan along with his phenomenal defence must surely have him in Test selection mode. Maybe not for the 1st Test but if things don't go well for the Qantas Wallabies this Saturday then Pup just may get a call up for the remaining two Tests.
 
6. The coach battle heats up.
 
It will be extremely interesting to see how the appointment of the next Qantas Wallabies Coach plays out. 
 
Robbie Deans has this series to prove he deserves to lead our Qantas Wallabies to the 2015 RWC. If things don't go well in this series for the Qantas Wallabies then I believe it's now a two-horse race between Jake White and Ewen Mckenzie. 
 
Jake has an outstanding CV at international level and has done a fantastic job with this young Brumbies squad.   
 
Ewen has ticked every box possible along the way in his time as an Assistant coach at international level and head coach at Super Rugby level.  Having turned Queensland Rugby into a successful brand, both on and off the field, he will step down from the Reds at season's end.
 
The landscape in Australian Rugby will become a whole lot clearer over the next few weeks. 
 
It all starts in Brisbane this Saturday night....