Jumping Joe to show his tricks against former Argentine mentor in semi-final

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

If Brumbies halfback Joe Powell takes the ball and bursts through a defensive line on the weekend, it might just be because of the lessons he picked up from his opposite number.

Jaguares scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli was the Brumbies' first-choice no. 9 back in 2016, when the Argentinian spent the first of two seasons in Canberra.

That same year was Powell's first year on the Super Rugby scene and the Brumbies halfback said he was looking forward to a reunion in Buenos Aires.

"He was the starting halfback in my first year of professional rugby, and he really helped me out and definitely it'll be enjoyable to play against him this weekend," he said.

Powell said Cubelli's confidence to run with the ball had rubbed off on him in games as well, with the 25-year-old not afraid to look up from the base of a ruck either.

"His ability to back himself and his running game, that's something he really taught me," he said.

"Just to have a go, back yourself and see what you can do."

Powell's own career trajectory can almost be marked by the involvement he's had in finals matches for the Brumbies since that 2016 debut season.

In 2016, he was named on the bench but failed to get a minute against the Highlanders and then a year later, he was part of the side that went down to the Hurricanes in week one.

This season, he has well and truly established himself as the Brumbies' starting halfback and a top contender for the Wallabies' World Cup squad.

Joe Powell has been in impressive form this season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySaturday's quarter-final was the first taste of playoff success he has tasted in Super Rugby and he is keen for a repeat this weekend.

With almost two full seasons as a starter behind him now, Powell feels far more a part of the Super Rugby landscape, more aware of the threats of his opponents and what it will take to overcome them.

"I’ve got a few games under my belt now and it was good to get that first finals win," he said.

"I'm not really approaching games any differently but I know a bit more about my opponents when I go into games know.

"It's probably a bit of both having had the experience playing against a lot of the guys in Super Rugby and just knowing more about them."

Powell said the Brumbies as a whole had also learned a lot about the roller coaster of the competition this year, putting aside a slow start to the year to win the Aussie conference and notch a club record seven wins in a row.

Plenty of Brumbies players have touted the tight relationships built over the season and Powell said the experience of those tough matches at the start of the season had made them really savour their recent run of wins.

"A lot of the boys say how close we are," he said.

"We had few tough times early in the year and learned a lot about how we play the game and react under pressure.

"I think that's really led to how we’ve been going the second half, having experienced the lows, and now we're playing good footy."

A strong performance against a Test player-laden Jaguares outfit, including Pumas regular Cubelli, would not hurt Powell's chances of kicking on into the World Cup squad and he hopes there are plenty of Brumbies in the mix come Wallabies season.

"It'd be awesome to get as many Brumbies in the Wallabies squad as we can," he said.

"That's every player's goal in the squad to try and push for that."

The Brumbies take on the Jaguares on Saturday June 29 at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, kicking off at 9:05am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo.