Changing of the guard a boon for Wallabies hopefuls: Samu

Sun, Mar 1, 2020, 5:41 AM
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
Pete Samu says there is a sense of a changing of the guard in the Wallabies in 2020. Photo: Getty Images
Pete Samu says there is a sense of a changing of the guard in the Wallabies in 2020. Photo: Getty Images

Brumbies backrower Pete Samu says a clean Wallabies slate is adding extra significance to this Super Rugby season as Aussie players push to impress.

With an almost entirely new Wallabies staff taking over in 2020, and a host of established  players having departed overseas, the race for Test spots shapes as one of the more open contests in recent memory.

That the Brumbies sit on top of the Australian conference after five rounds certainly won’t do their Test selection prospects any harm, given new coach Dave Rennie’s stance that form will be king come Test time.

Samu has been among the best for the Brumbies this season, capping off a strong start with a man of the match performance in Hamilton against the Chiefs last weekend.

The no.8 narrowly missed out on World Cup selection in 2019 and was considered by many as one of the more unlucky omissions after a strong Super Rugby season.

Pete Samu has been a Brumbies standout in 2020. Photo: Getty ImagesOn an individual level, Samu said he wasn’t letting Test ambitions cloud his more immediate focus of keeping the Brumbies' 2020 run going.

“It’s still early in the season, trying to take it week by week and go out there and enjoy playing footy alongside some of my good mates and trying ot get a result as well,” he said.

“I’m trying not to let (Wallabies) get in the way of doing my job for the team, that comes first and foremost."

Samu said a recent visit from Rennie, who travelled to all the Australian teams in January, had injected a sense that Wallabies selection this year would come with a kind of clean slate.

“I try not to focus too far ahead but it’s obviously a change of the guards and that’s a positive for young boys coming through as well,” he said.

“There’s a lot of boys putting their hands up for selection, so we have to control what we can let them do their work upstairs.

“I think there’s big opportunities for a lot of boys in the country.

“We had Dave Rennie come over and have a chat and he’s going to pick on form and that’s what the boys want. 

“That’ll obviously be a big positive.”

Pete Samu last played for the Wallabies in 2018. Photo: Getty ImagesThe ACT side’s fast start to 2020 is in contrast to their recent records, where they have struggled to get off the mark.

Samu said their success, even as they worked to forge somewhat new combinations, came from simply growing a tight-knit bond among the group.

“I think the boys expressing themselves, the boys have had a big and tough preseason and I’ve always said that the time we’ve spent, the enjoyment we’ve had off the field builds the chemistry,” he said.

“I definitely feel the boys are enjoying themselves on the weekend,comes form how close we are off the field.”

The Brumbies had a bye this week but will be gearing up to take on the Sunwolves in Wollongong on Friday afternoon.

The Brumbies take on the Sunwolves on Friday March 6 at WIN Stadium Wollongong, kicking off at 2;45pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

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