Larkham backs youth for derby

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Brumbies coach Stephen Latkham has backed his young side to step up against the Rebels, amid an injury-ravaged month.

The Brumbies travel to Melbourne for their must win Australian derby missing the likes of Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane, Henry Speight and most recently Robbie Coleman.

“It’s not ideal losing a player like Robbie,” Larkham said.

“He’s been very good over the past couple of weeks bringing energy to the side and bringing experience into the team.

“It gives an opportunity to Jordan Jackson-Hope who has trained with us pre-Christmas, had an opportunity with the U20s last week and is raring to go,” he said.

Jackson-Hope led the Brumbies during the Super U20s tournament and earlier this week was named in the Australia U20s squad for the upcoming World Rugby U20s Championship next month.

Jordan Jackson-Hope started at inside centre for the Australia U20s last week. Photo: Getty Images

“I don’t think anyone (has) seen much of him,” Larkham said.

“He played a trial against the Waratahs and played really well in that trial.”

Jackson-Hope wasn’t the only U20s star Larkham was contemplating to replace the injured Coleman.

“Joostey (Nick Jooste) played 12 for the U20s on the weekend and played a really good game up there,” he said.

“Between the two of them it was a pretty hard decision to go with Rabs (Jackson-Hope) because they’ve both played really well and trained really well with us.”

Friday’s crucial clash with the Rebels could have a major impact on the season for both sides with the Waratahs also chasing the Australian conference lead. 

Larkham expects a battle of the forwards with the Rebels' breakdown kings looking to cause havoc.

“You have a look at the Rebels game and they’re quite good at the breakdown and you have a look at their selection and Colby Fainga’a and Sean McMahon in the backrow they’ll be pretty hard on the ball and that’s where they stifle teams.”

The Brumbies play the Rebels at AAMI Park at 7:40pm AEST on Friday LIVE on FOX SPORTS.