Butler harbours national ambition

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies back row is not an easy group to break into but Brumbies back rower Jarrad Butler isn’t losing hope that he might crack the national squad in years to come.

Butler had a chance to impress Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in his recent outing for the Barbarians against Argentina but the 24-year-old said he didn’t use it as a campaign for national selection.

“We got to speak pretty informally,” he said.

“I wasn’t getting in his grill or anything like that (but it was) nice to have a bit of an informal chat and get to know him.

“That was the good thing about the whole trip was just do that with not just the coaches but the players as well.

Butler said a Wallabies jersey was still his ultimate goal.

“It’s definitely where I want to go,” he said.

“Next year’s going to be important and pre-season going to be pretty tough but I need to be mentally prepared.”

Butler had an impressive season for the UC Vikings in the NRC, scoring eight tries in the season and playing every match as the side finished second to Brisbane City.

That recent form combined with a strong Super Rugby season has given him plenty of confidence ahead of a 2016 season that could unearth some opportunities for new Wallabies faces.

“I’m feeling more and more confident on the field,” he said.

“I think that’s an important part of it, feeling confident and doing what you want to do out on the field.

“There are lots of things to improve on and that’s what the pre-season’s for and that’s what the trial games are for.”

Improvement is one thing the Brumbies are all fixated on in 2016, after two semi-finals and a runner-up finish in the past three years.

Prop Allan Alaalatoa said the side had already begun to lift its standards, with records and personal bests being set early in the pre-season.

“We just haven’t been able to go that one step closer,” he said.

“In the first week, we were already taking it up a notch which is giving us a positive mindset heading into the season next year.”

Alaalatoa will have to compete with Wallabies prop Scott Sio for a front row spot but he says his role in the team will be the same whether he starts or not.

“I feel like for me it’s always about training hard and if I’m able to push him it’s only going to make him better,” he said.

“To have a strong depth is just as important to have a strong starting 15.

“If you’re able to push the starting 15 it’s going to make a better result for the whole team.”

The Brumbies unveiled their 2016 Super Rugby strip on Tuesday, with players saying the change to a largely blue strip gave a bit of freshness to their new campaign.

CEO Michael Jones said the new design was linked to the club’s history as well as its future.