UPDATE: McInerney happy to earn another year at home with new contract

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Hooker Connal McInerney says he jumped at the chance to extend his stay in Canberra, inking a new extension through to 2021.

Canberra born-and-bred, McInerney said he had never imagined himself in anything other than a Brumbies jersey.

"This is my home, never really seen myself playing anywhere else especially at this point in my career," he said.

"My whole family's here, hings like that, it just makes it easier to stay where you're from, represent who you are, represent the region. It's just a dream come true."

McInerney debuted for the Brumbies in 2018, called up after an injury to Josh Mann-Rea, and he has seized his opportunity in Super Rugby with both hands.

The 24-year-old played 10 matches for the ACT franchise in 2019, deputising for Folau Fainga'a, and grabbed headlines with a hat-trick against the Sunwolves.

McInerney follows players including Fainga'a in signing a contract extension with a season left to run on his current deal. 

In his third season with the club, the deputy is ready to push Fainga'a as well.

"(The goal is) always to start, I think that's what it should be for everyone really but probably this year, it's just to get some more games under my belt," he said.

"I played 10 last year, so I just hope to add to that, play hopefully another 10, hopefully 15, hopefully every game. To be in that 23, play regular minutes, that's my main goal."

McInerney is one of a group of developing players looking to take a step up in 2020 with a host of the Brumbies' leaders moving on after the Rugby World Cup.

"Every World Cup you kind of see a change in the squad, a lot of older players move on and that's kind of happened everywhere at all four franchises in Australia," he said.

"It's just a natural occurrence but we've got an exciting young group coming through the ranks.

"It's a bit funny - a year or two ago I was one of the youngest and now I'm one of the oldest.

"I hope to take a bit of a leadership role with those young guys and still got a really good squad with plenty of experience as well."

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said McInerney had made strong progress since stepping up into the Super Rugby squad.

"As a club we're delighted to have Connal with us until at least the end of next year,"he said.

"He's born and bred Canberra, and a really well respected and liked figure, not just amongst the playing group, but amongst the organisation as a whole.

"He's made some really big strides in the last two years since graduating through the Academy here at the Brumbies and we're all looking forward to seeing him continue to improve his game in 2020 and beyond."

The Brumbies play the Rebels in their only Super Rugby trial on Thursday January 23, kicking off at 3:45pm and 6:15pm, with the second game LIVE on RUGBY.com.au