The Brumbies are building into Waratahs week by throwing some cheeky shade at a former teammate but it will be all business in Sunday’s derby.
NSW lock Tom Staniforth began his career with the Brumbies before moving up to Sydney to join the Waratahs ahead of the 2018 season.
The second rower stepped up in the absence of captain Rob Simmons last week and will be going head-to-head against many of his old friends in Canberra this weekend.
Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney couldn’t resist throwing a good-natured barb the second rower’s way ahead of the important derby.
“Love playing with him and against him, he's a real pest,” he said.
“He has calmed down a bit since he's been married and stuff, he's let go of himself a little bit around the edges.
“I saw him at the hotel in Wollongong (last week) and he's getting around looking like a tall prop now.
‘He's always good, he's a quality team man and he's going well for the Tahs and I'm just happy for him but I'll get stuck into him.”
Brumbies flanker Tom Cusack expects Staniforth to come to Canberra on a mission, with a view to making his presence felt.
“He’s probably one of the softest carriers in the game,” he joked.
“He'll step up, he always steps up.
“He's going to want to put a stamp on this game, this is probably one he's earmarked pretty early and one he's going to want to put his stamp on.”
While they were happy to make some jokes about their mate, the pair were more serious when discussing Sunday’s Waratahs meeting.
Their past three meetings have all gone the Brumbies way but the ACT club won’t be taking that as a given this weekend.
Cusack said they were quickly reminded this week about the Rebels’ 2019 season, where the Melbourne side began the year flying and faded away to miss the finals completely.
“It's the reality of it, they haven't performed very well at all, only winning one game and we have to tread lightly around that as cliche as it is,” he said.
“They can bounce back in any way.
“I think Dan made the point the other day, Rebels were where we are (now) last year and they didn't end up anywhere near the top.
“We're sitting right up the top and where we want to be so it's just about keeping that form and making sure we stay where we need to stay.”
The Brumbies take on the Waratahs on Sunday March 16 at GIO Stadium, kicking off at 4:05pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. The Brumbies women take on the Reds earlier in the day, kicking off at 1:15pm AEDT, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.