Arnold to shake first-year nerves

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies lock Rory Arnold wants to be more relaxed as he heads into his second Super Rugby season.

The reigning Super Rugby Rookie of the year wants to shelve those first-year nerves in 2016 as he looks to establish himself in the competition.

“Last year I was a lot more nervous leading into games,” he said.

“I think I just need to control those nerves and not let them ruin my prep for the game.”

Asked whether he was concerned about the possibility of second-year blues, Arnold said he just wanted to replicate the form that last year propelled him into Wallabies calculations

The Brumbies will not be easing into the season, facing 2015 runners-up the Hurricanes, the side that ended the ACT side’s season in the semi final.

Arnold said that loss, their first to the Hurricanes in four matches, was still at the back of the Brumbies’ minds.

“It’ll be there a little bit but as much as it was disappointing losing that semi last year, we’ll put that behind us and hope to get one back on them this year,” he said

Their opposition has had a rollercoaster preseason, with the Hurricanes losing 28-0 to the Force on the Central Coast before thrashing the Crusaders 74-7 last weekend.

The Brumbies’ defence was the best in the competition last season and Arnold said they would have to at their best against the Hurricanes, who love to play a fast-paced open style of Rugby.

‘Defensively we’re going to have to be really good,” he said.

“We can’t let them hold the ball for longer than 10 phases because as an attacking team they’re looking good.

Arnold said there’d be plenty of focus on dominating in the set piece on the weekend.

“I think the whole set piece we’ll be attacking their lineout and their scrum so hopefully we can steal some ball there.”

The Hurricanes have named a strong side to open the season, despite a training injury to Dane Coles on Wednesday.

The Brumbies will potentially face a lineup featuring seven New Zealand internationals , including attacking weapons Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea.

HURRICANES: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles (captain)/Leni Apisai, Reggie Goodes.

Reserves: Apisai/TBC, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Willis Halaholo