Brumbies lock in academy duo

Super Rugby
by staff

He's been likened to Stephen Larkham and now the headgear-wearing flyhalf Mack Hansen will be a full-time Brumbies player, signing with the ACT franchise.

The Brumbies have moved to lock in Hansen and towering U20s lock Darcy Swain, as they finalise their 2018 roster.

Hansen grabbed attention in his John I Dent Cup debut for Gungahlin Eagles, with his silky skills likened to Wallabies legend and former Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham.

The 19-year-old won't be relying on any superstar likenesses to forge his career, though.

“I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to hopefully start my Super Rugby career here in Canberra with the Brumbies,” he said.

“I have been enjoying my rugby in the U20 set up, and at a club level with Gungahlin, and I am looking forward to having the chance to show what I can do in a full-time professional environment.

“This is the next step on my journey to become a rugby player and I am grateful to the Brumbies for giving me a chance."

Brumbies fans may have already seen Swain in action, with the 200cm second rower featuring in the Brumbies’ mid-year friendly against the Asia Pacific Dragons, while he was also among the Australia U20s squad.

Swain said that he had learned plenty from that trip to Singapore in June, relishing the chance to be among the professionals.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the week we had in Singapore and the time I got to spend with the senior squad and I am delighted that I am now officially part of that environment,” he said.

“We have some tremendous locks here at the Brumbies and I feel I have learnt a huge amount just by watching them, so training with them as a player will continue to help me improve.

“It’s an honour to be picked up by the Brumbies. They are a club I admire and have a tremendous history and a fantastic culture that I can’t wait to be a part of.

Rory Arnold has been strong for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesThe fact that the Brumbies also have Wallabies-capped locks in Sam Carter and Rory Arnold to learn form had not passed Swain by either.

I’m obviously the youngest out of the four locks in the squad, so it’ll be a big learning curve next year, and I’m happy to sit back and just learn.

“I think combining the work rate of those three (other locks), and bringing the flair of a back rower, to really have that mobility around the field, that’s a goal of mine.”

Both players will feature for the Canberra Vikings in this year’s NRC and coach Dan McKellar said he was looking forward to seeing what they could do.

“They’re two good young footballers, they’ve both had a taste of the Brumbies program over the past 12 months, there’ll be NRC involvement for both of them this year, so we see potential in both of them,” he said.

The NRC kicks off on September 2, with the Canberra Vikings opening the competition against Queensland Country, at 1pm AEST.