Plenty has changed at the Brumbies in recent months and yet a lot is quite the same for Scott Sio as he prepares for his first match of 2017.
Sio has been named on the bench for Saturday’s clash with the Highlanders, the team he faced in his last Super Rugby match, quarter-final loss in Canberra last July
Though he admitted the deja vu was a quirk of his return but the fixture listing might be where the similarities end.
“I guess when you come into a new season, you tend to put everything that happened in the past behind and keep moving forward and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
“We’ve got a new team here, a new dynamic and I’m pretty excited to get out there and mix it with the boys.
“I’ve been training so much with them now, so I want to see what the feel is out there on the field, it should be good.”
While that quarter-final loss is still relatively fresh in the Brumbies’ mind, Sio said redemption wouldn’t be an overwhelming thought on Saturday night.
“I think if you’re looking in too much of that stuff your mindset’s not the right way going in,” he said.
“They’re a new Highlanders side this year and they’re looking to achieve big things as well with their group.
“I think we’ve just got to look within ourselves, just keep trusting our process and the results will come on the weekend.”
It’s been a long time since the Brumbies found any success against Kiwi teams, in fact their last trans-Tasman win was their round one drubbing of eventual 2016 champions the Hurricanes and captain Sam Carter admitted there wasn’t much wiggle room when it came to their chances of victory.
“The margin for error is so small so we have to make sure we’re right on our game tomorrow night because they’ll capitalise on the opportunities if we give them,” he said.
“They’re great at counter-attack and they offload and kick more than any other team in the comp.
“So, we’re going to have to obviously be aware of those threats and shut them down there tomorrow.”
Sio isn’t the only Brumbies forward returning, with hooker Saia Faingaa named for his first match of 2017, after signing with the Brumbies in the off-season.
Faingaa and twin, Anthony, were both given indefinite time off after the sudden death of their father and Sio said the pair had the club’s support during a difficult time.
“We’ve been behind them and told them to take as much time as they need for it, he felt good to go this week,” he said.
“I think it’s something that people are going to be asking a lot of questions about and for us it’s just saying, ‘We’re there if you need us, if you need to talk, we’re there for you’.
“For us, it’s just about sticking by him. We’re a team after all and we’re just letting him know the whole squad’s here and we’re behind you, and Ant for that matter, and their families.”