Sunwolves won't pull wool over Brumbies' eyes

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies won’t be sucked into perceptions when they take on the Sunwolves this weekend.

Playing in Canberra against the seemingly struggling Japanese side, the Brumbies will be overwhelming favourites.

But hooker Josh Mann-Rea said they wouldn’t be deceived by the Sunwolves’ ladder position

“The last two weeks they’ve been really good performers,” he said.

“They drew with the Stormers and last week (against Queensland) they created a lot of opportunities which they didn’t capitalise on and I think they could’ve maybe won that game.”

Prop Ruan Smith, who played in the Japanese Top League over summer said the Sunwolves’ scrum would be no achilles heel, either.

"I think everyone's got the perception they’re smaller but they were heavier than the reds at the weekend,” he said.

“They’re generally short and stronger statured but they’ll be up for the forward set piece as well.  

“Technically they’ve got a good scrum, they’ve struggled at times but technically they do that very well.

“Out wide, they’ve got a lot of experienced players….all over the park it’ll be hard.

“We’ll have to have our stuff in order to get one over them there.”

The Sunwolves will be a threat at scrumtime. Photo: Getty ImagesFor Mann-Rea the final block of matches could be his chance to get first crack at the starting hooker spot in 2017, with co-captain Stephen Moore moving back to the Reds.

Current Queensland hooker Saia Fainga’a will be coming to the Brumbies, with young hooker Robbie Abel also looking to push for consideration after making his Super Rugby debut this season.

"I think every opportunity I get to play I try to perform and build for something for next year.

"With Stephen moving on there’s an opportunity there to start.

"Any chance you get to play in front of Bernie and the Brumbies team is about putting tickets on yourself to try and get yourself that starting spot."

While the forward pack will be decisive on Saturday, it’s the Brumbies’ ability to score tries that will be of great importance.

They sit one point behind the conference-leading Waratahs in the Australian conference, with four games left and a winning bonus point could help hand them that lead and a finals spot.