Brumbies prioritising experience at scrumhalf

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham will prioritise experience in the search for a scrumhalf to bolster his young squad.

With the Brumbies expected to blood rookie Kiwi flyhalf Wharenui Hawera in their Super Rugby opener against the Crusaders next Saturday, the loss of Tomas Cubelli to a season-ending patella tendon injury has left their halves well short of crucial experience.

Young gun Joe Powell is expected to get the nod at scrumhalf but the team on the whole is devoid of old heads, having lost two of its most experienced players heading into this season - with David Pocock on a one-year sabbatical and Stephen Moore now calling Ballymore home.

The loss of Tomas Cubelli has left Stephen Larkham's team short on experience. Photo: Getty Images"We are trying to find a halfback so next week there will some announcement around that - we are getting close to finding a nice fit for our group in terms of that halfback," Larkham told media in Canberra today.

"We have a young group so it would be good to have some experience there - the goal is to find someone with some experience." 

On the loss of Cubelli, fullback Aidan Toua said the team will back whoever it is that the Brumbies brains trust bring into the squad.

"Losing someone like Cubes is huge - he’s got international experience and having inexperienced playmakers around, it would have been nice to have someone with his experience there," he said."We’ve got Joey Powell who had a bit of experience with the Wallabies last year so I think he took a lot out of that.

"As Bernie said we are still looking to fill a void there so whoever it is, we will back them."

Larkham is also searching for cover in the outside backs but said the organisation would decide upon a few internal contenders.

"At the moment we are looking internally, so Anthony Fainga’a came back to training this week - he adds another number to the squad," he said.

"Andy Muirhead, he has come down here from Brisbane to play with the Royals and he has just taken an opportunity to train with us pre-Christmas and he has impressed with his training and his games so we will keep him on for a little bit longer as well.

"We will internally cover the position for the winger, there is enough competition in the outside backs at the moment for us to make a decision there."