One step forward for Brumbies, one step back for Valetini

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says his side took a step forward in Johannesburg, despite coming away without a win.

Though frustrated at a lopsided penalty count and a 10-minute spell when they were down to 13 men, McKellar was generally proud of his side.

“I think we were in front at that point in time (of the red card(, playing some really good footy - certainly challenging with how we were attacking, we were defending well,” he said.

“Red card, on the back of a yellow card, 17-9 penalty count, hard to win away from home.”

McKellar said he felt some of the expansive, attacking rugby he has been looking for showed against the lions.

“I thought our attack was excellent, we were finding space and backing ourselves, backing our ability to use our skill and we created space and opp and that's a real positive as a coach,” he said

“We've been trying to make some change here since November and we saw signs of its tonight, so this young Brumbies side took some steps forward.”

Young backrower Rob Valetini will be sidelined with a medial ligament injury, the same injury he only just returned from a week ago in Canberra, McKellar confirmed.

“Valetini tweaked his medial, it’s disappointing for him because it's the second time this year,” he said.

“He's a very good young footballer with enormous potential.

“He's just trying to get his career started and it's another setback for him and he'll be back.”

The injury means Valetini is unlikely to feature for the Junior Wallabies in the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship

Asked about his reaction to the Waratahs’ win over the Highlanders, and the Brumbies’ all-but-gone finals chances, McKellar was blunt.

“Good on them. I'm not too concerned about the Waratahs, I'm not too concerned about finals or anything like that,” he said.

“I thought tonight, whilst I’m disappointed and frustrated about some of the decisions, proud of the group in terms of taking a step forward with what we asked them to do.

“So, good on the Waratahs because the hoodoo's broken and I think we're all sick of talking about that, so they played well, good on them.”