Big opportunities for second rowers in Super Rugby AU: Swain

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies lock Darcy Swain feels like the next generation of second rowers has a rare opportunity to shine in the upcoming Super Rugby AU competition.

The departures of Izack Rodda and Harry Hockings in Queensland were highly publicised but they're far from the only second row changes being felt 

At the Brumbies, that change was already obivous before the season began with capped Wallabies Sam Carter and Rory Arnold heading overseas.

Since the season shutdown, starting lock Cadeyrn Neville has been struck down with injury and fellow second rower Blake Enever was released on compassionate grounds to return to his Queensland-based family.

Enever was officially released on the weekend and Swain said it was difficult to give a much-loved teammate a proper farewell given the restrictions in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"He was just disappointed that he couldn't tell us in person," he said.

"We all had to split and then blokes went home, some blokes stayed and he just didn't get to say goodbye to everyone.

"That was the unfortunate part of it all, it was pretty sad seeing him go and not just saying goodbye one last time, having a drink with him or something like that would've been nice but I'm sure we'll all catch up with Bev either up in Queensland or if he comes back and has a farewell that'll be good.

"That was probably hard."

Former Sunwolves lock Ben Hyne has joined the group on injury cover, likely jostling with Swain to be Murray Douglas's startling partner.

Swain had a disjointed start to the year with illness and injury hampering his opportunity to get a foothold on a starting spot after a strong preseason and NRC campaign last year.

The 22-year-old said he felt there was a changing of the guard when it came to opportunities for locks and Super Rugby AU would prove the perfect chance for some lesser known names to stand up.

"I think with the departure of Izack Rodda, who was a prominent lock in Australia and held down a Wallabies jersey for a while and a lot of older guys leaving, Carts (Sam Carter), Rory (Arnold), (Rebels forward) Luke Jones of course going, there's a lot of guys leaving," he said.

"So, it does put a big emphasis on the next, upcoming generation of not just locks but players in general.

"We see guys like Noah (Lolesio), he's in the squad, going really well and I think it's a terrific opportunity for everyone to put their hands up and try and stake a Wallabies jersey."

On the field, Swain said the Brumbies had adapted to the situation as best they could and heaped praise on rookie Tom Hooper, who has been elevated from the Brumbies academy.

"It's hard, it's hard especially when it comes to units and we need numbers but Benny Hyne's come across and he's really filled that hole," he said.

"Unfortunately Bev's left to be closer to his family. We're all pretty close to Bev so it's hard to see him go but we've got young Tommy Hooper coming up from the academy, he's tried to fill some holes and he's going really well too.

"He flogged everyone in the 1.2km so the big fella can move.

"It's been tough, especially in unit sessions but I think we're coping pretty well."

The Brumbies open their Super Rugby AU campaign on Saturday July 4, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here.