Brumbies-Crusaders no mini Bledisloe

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies won’t be trying to paint their trans-Tasman clash as a mini Bledisloe this weekend, coach Stephen Larkham says.

New Zealand’s Super Rugby sides have had a dominant record over their Australian counterparts, with just the Brumbies and Reds recording a win each against Kiwis in the first eight rounds.

Larkham said those results had no relation to Test fortunes, with different sides having different elements.

“If you have good success in Super Rugby then I think that transfers into the Test arena but they’re two totally different competitions and totally different teams,” he said.

“It’s us against the Crusaders this weekend versus wallabies versus the All Blacks later in the year.

“They’re completely different teams.”

Larkham said it shouldn’t be panic stations for the Australian sides either despite the lopsided results so far, and they wouldn’t be worried by that heading into Sunday’s Crusaders clash.

“It’s irrelevant really, isn’t it?,” he said.

“You’re trying to put a performance down on the weekend and looking at the stats isn’t going to help that on the weekend .

“Particularly for us, when we come up against the New Zealand sides we’re looking at the specific individuals within that team that we’re against and  strengths and weaknesses of those teams.”

Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore echoed Larkham’s views .

“Obviously you want to win every game so it goes without saying if you’re winning then it probably flows on but really there’s not too much of a correlation,” he said.

“This game is in isolation.”

After another week of boardroom drama, the Brumbies received some positive news, with the re-signing of backrower Jarrad Butler for one more season.

Larkham admitted they would have liked to keep lock Butler in for two years, they were “hamstrung” by the deal recently nutted out with David Pocock.

“I mean the difficulty there is Poey’s away for a year and we’ll be back the following year so  we’ll have to see where that budget lies in that following year,” he said.

“Both parties would’ve liked to have done a two-year deal but we’re a little bit hamstrung at the moment working out the deal with Poey.”

Larkham was full of praise for Butler’s performances this year, with the backrower influential against the Waratahs in his return from injury.

“He had a tremendous game (last  week), maybe not the presence on the ball that he would’ve liked  but he’s shown improvement each week in terms of getting on the ball,” he said.

“His understanding of the game is second to none. In the forwards, he reads the game better than anyone else.”