Brumbies expect Force to bring the heat in Super Rugby AU

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies assistant coach Peter Hewat expects the Force to bring some extra hunger into the slated Super Rugby AU competition next month.

The Force were axed from Super Rugby in 2017 and have since played in their own Asia Pacific tournaments and the NRC, taking out both competitions last year.

With Super Rugby's usual format  and the Force's Global Rapid Rugby competition impossible to complete amid the coronavirus pandemic, the WA franchise have agreed to be part of a Super Rugby AU competition to kick off on July 4.

Rugby Australia still needs broadcasters to tick off the amended format to get the green light for the competition but the Force's agreement was a pivotal addition.

While the Force will likely come into the competition as relative underdogs, Hewat expected them to bring plenty of heat.

"They've been together for a few years now, that group's been pretty stable and a lot of those players would probably have how the Brumbies started back in the day...so I'd imagine they'd have a big point to prove," he said.

"Aany team can beat any of the other teams on the day it's just a matter of with the travel playing away games, playing home games, haven't seen a schedule in regards to that but I'd imagine away games are going to be very challenging this year so anything's possible."

Hewat said it would be great to have another Australian clash to prepare for.

"Really looking forward to that," he said.

"Looking forward to, obviously we're not allowed to cross any borders as such, international borders or some domestic borders. Really excited not only for us but for them.

"They've obviously made a lot of noise and they're excited to be back in the comp and we're excited to have them back in the comp and to be playing against them. Another team, another opposition, another Australian derby, we're very excited about that.

Brumbies backrower Pete Samu said it felt "right" to have the WA team in the competition.

I think having the Force in, it's a massive step up for this competition to go forward. Having those guys, I think it's only right that they're in this competition and they've got some quality players so I think everyone's pretty keen to get stuck in on July 4.

Samu also hoped there could be the prospect of a trans-Tasman playoff should international 

Currently, the Australian competition is planning on a 10-week regular season with two weeks of domestic finals but a number of coaches and players have welcomed the prospect of crossing with the Super Rugby Aotearoa in a playoff or finals series.

"That'd be awesome," he said.

"Those guys having their comp starting up pretty soon I'd love to have that go forward that trans-Tasman final between us two. It'd be quite cool to get some pay out of the hard work we've been putting on."

For the Brumbies, who were off to a flying start in Super Rugby this season and had a comfortable lead at the top of the Australian conference when the season was shut down, the major challenge will be continuing their early momentum in this new competition.

Any Super Rugby points will be erased for this competition and Samu said the team's focus was on ensuring they continued their momentum.

"The boys have got to start from scratch but the boys are pretty keen to get out there July 4th so I think the boys will do everything they can to keep that momentum going from when we finished off," he said.