Wallabies drawing on Brumbies' set piece strategy for Springboks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies will be adopting some of the strategies that spurred the Brumbies to success in Super Rugby when the Rugby Championship begins but that mightn't spell a Test 23 dominated by ACT players.

The ACT outfit used its set piece to lay the platform for a run to a Super Rugby final this season and 10 Brumbies were picked in the Wallabies squad off the back of that season with the bulk of those from the forward pack.

Lock Rory Arnold said while he hoped the Brumbies’ tight five players had the chance to play together on the Test stage but ultimately form would dictate the Wallabies lineup.

“It’d be nice to keep that together but it’s whoever is playing their best footy,” he said.

“You’re not going to just play those group of players because they play Super Rugby together.

“You’ve got to be playing your best footy and that warrants selection and I think that will show this weekend with the squad [Cheika] picks.”

Rory Arnold in Wallabies camp. Photo: RUGBY.com.auBrumbies skipper and squad flyhalf Christian Lealiifano said he didn’t expect that the Brumbies would be parachuted straight into the Test team just for the sake of continuing their Super Rugby momentum.

“I wouldn't say you put a bulk of Brumbies players in to go with that momentum,” he said.

“We've been just trying to get our heads around the last week of what the boys have been doing for the whole little block so I think it'll be quite tough to be able to jump in and try and put everyone in just to see if that would work for you but the combinations and everything else has been really good, I think from the whole squad.”

Regardless of how many Brumbies feature in the 23 against the Springboks, Lealiifano said there was definitely an element of absorbing some of the elements that the ACT side leaned on.

“I think they've definitely acknowledged how well we've gone this year as a Brumbies team but just trying to maximise the strengths they use as well,” he said.

“I think the boys have done some mauling stuff and some scrum stuff and they're really adopting that kind of stuff to be on the same page, to be able to use those strengths to be able to move forward as well.

“I think they're trying to use the strengths of (the Brumbies’ set piece) and then add in their own twists and flavour on it as well.

“To try to see what works well for the Wallabies squad and not just mirror another program.”

Arnold is set to head to France at the end of the 2019 season and after three seasons of moving in and out of the Wallabies fold, the second rower is keen to finish with a bang.

“It would be nice to finish on a high and play some really good footy at Test level and obviously moving on at the end of the year the curtain will shut down on my Test career but I’m really excited and looking forward to this year,” he said.

Australia will face a stiff litmus test against a powerful Springboks forward pack and Arnold said it was one they were embracing.

“They’re a quality tight-five  and they’ve got big world-class locks in Eben [Etzebeth] and Lood [de Jager] and players like that,” he said.

“Personally it’s a good challenge. You want to be playing against the best players in the world and there’s no doubt those players are really good and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”

The Wallabies take on South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday July 20, kicking off at 5:05pm local, Sunday 1:05am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo Sports.