Brumbies and Wallabies in player tug-of-war

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is not looking to back down from a request for the Brumbies to rest stars Allan Alaalatoa, Scott Sio and David Pocock this weekend.

The Brumbies play the Sunwolves on Sunday afternoon, just six days before the opening June Test, and Cheika requested that the trio be left out of the side, to give them as much time to prepare as possible.

It’s a game the Brumbies have earmarked for a '15 for 15' initiative, promising to donate money to charity should they hit a crowd target, and the ACT franchise is resistant to omit three of their Wallabies for the match.

Cheika said on Wednesday night the issue was yet to be resolved, but was adamant that Test rugby should be the top priority.

“I don't know if they're (the Brumbies) refusing at this point,” he said.

“I would say I've definitely requested that the players, in order to get preparation, I don't know about rest.

“Common sense will tell you that a six-day turnaround into a Test match is not ideal for preparation.

“I think throughout the season we've done our best to get involved with Super Rugby teams and be as supportive as we can.

Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio have had large workloads this year. Photo: Getty Images“We wanted an earlier start to the Super Rugby season to have a week off before the June Series but with all the Super Rugby teams, we didn't do that because they wanted to play the Tens and then have a trial match.

“I definitely think it's the right decision to prioritise those guys getting ready to play for their country.”

Cheika said the conversation was one that began last week, with the Brumbies not really in contention for the Super Rugby finals ahead of the June break.

“I started discussions with them last week, just had a look at how the season's panning out etc, wanted to take that into consideration as well and try and make a common sense decision around that, a request around that.

“I'm hoping we can work it out together because I know the Brumbies have been very, very supportive of the national program and of us being involved with them all season.

“I (also) took into consideration the Sunwolves will be resting all their Japanese players for the match and I think the Brumbies, the form they're in and the players they've got, think they're going to beat the Sunwolves regardless.”

Asked whether he would consider potentially limited game time for a player like Pocock instead of a game off, Cheika was frank.

“That belies the reasoning of why I did it in the first place,” he said.

“I think at a certain point, I don't want to harp on the point, I don't think a six-day turnaround is the right thing in regards to giving these guys right to play a Test match against number two nation in the world. Grand Slam champions,” he said.

“I think that the Brumbies have been very supportive of the national program all year, I've certainly not had any complaints around that.”

David Pocock was in impressive form for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesPocock said on FOX SPORTS' Kick & Chase that he was leaving the choice up to the coaches.

"As far as I’m concerned and Allan and Scott that’s up to the coaches to decide," he said.

"I’m sure Dan (McKellar) and Cheik will be chatting about that.

"As a  player, it’s a tough one but we’ll wait to see what’s decided."

The Brumbies are set to name their team for the Sunwolves clash on Friday.

The Wallabies take on Ireland in the June Series, kicking off on Saturday June 9 at Suncorp Stadium, at 8pm AEST. Buy tickets here.

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