Breakdown discipline and set piece our biggest issues: Larkham

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Stephen Larkham has urged his team to address poor breakdown discipline and an ailing lineout ahead of the Brumbies' clash with the Hurricanes.

The Brumbies brains trust have not panicked at the selection table after the shock loss to the previously winless Rebels, making just two changes to the starting XV which will face the all-conquering Canes.

Rather, he told media today there were parts of their game which were simply not up to scratch in the 19-17 loss.

"There were a couple of issues defensively, just with our discipline around the breakdown," Larkham said.

"We spoke at half time and then obviously after the game about making smart decisions there.Stephen Larkham wasn't happy with his team's lineout last Saturday. Photo: Walmsley"There were some silly penalties, particularly in that first half, that let them back into the game.

"And then our set piece was probably our biggest issue - specifically our lineout.

"And then there was the disappointing scrum at the end of the game after being so dominant with the scrum the whole game."

Despite the lineout issues, Larkham said he had not rushed Josh Mann-Rae back into the starting XV.

"We see Bongo (Mann-Rae) as a marquee player for us," Larkham said.

"He's a standout player at set piece time but also around the field.

"I think it's ahead of schedule with his injury but it's just timely to bring him back in now."

The Australian Super Rugby woes against New Zealand sides have been well documented this year.

Chris Alcock and the Brumbies had their momentum continuously halted by their lineout against the Rebels. Photo: WalmsleyBut Larkham was not daunted by the fact that Australian teams are yet to register a win against opposition from across the ditch in 12 attempts this season.

"There are certainly some strategies that we are looking to put in place that we have spoken about all preseason," he said.

"We had a focus at the back end of last year to try and beat some New Zealand sides.

"Our record last year was five losses - four against New Zealand sides - so we had a bit of a focus in the preseason to try and rectify that."

The Brumbies face the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.