Exciting footy the focus after turbulent time: McCaffrey

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies backrower Locky McCaffrey says the best thing players can do after Australian rugby's turbulent few months is turn it on in Super Rugby AU.

The final details of a revised pay deal are yet to be ironed out, though that is expected to happen before Friday's competition kick-off.

Regardless of what is happening in the background, McCaffrey said players now had the responsibility to perform on the field and reignite interest in rugby.

"I think we're just trying to control what we can focus on and that's playing good footy, training well," he said.

"What blokes get paid is important for your livelihood, for bills, for families, for people, guys looking after family and loved ones et cetera but I think as a general feel, the best way we can do that is play really exciting footy, making sure supporters out there are watching on TV, coming to games and giving a buzz back to Australian rugby."

The Brumbies were flying at the top of the Australian conference when the season was shut down, with just one loss from six matches, but they will be starting from scratch against the Rebels on Saturday.

"I think COVID came at a really poor time for everyone but especially for Australian rugby," McCaffrey said.

"You saw the Brumbies playing well against other conference teams, other Aussie tams putting up good fights against New Zealand teams and it came at probably a bad time when I think the four teams, all four teams looked pretty promising, having a good season.

"Now with the introduction of the Force, they've always got a really good supporter base out there. I think that pay deal will get done at some point but the focus for us for all five teams is putting on a really good spectacle come the weekend."

The reshuffle of the Super Rugby season has had personal implications for McCaffrey as well.

McCaffrey's wedding was pencilled in for June 26 but he and partner Tash were forced to cancel in the wake of coronavirus restrictions.

The backrower put that pretty squarely into perspective..

"I don't think I can complain," he said.

"Gives me a little bit more time to relax but I think a lot of people out there are losing businesses and a lot worse off than just having to rearrange a marriage or miss out on a little bit of footy."

The Brumbies will enter Saturday night's match as firm favourites but they will be particularly wary of the high-profile Rebels backline coming to GIO Stadium.

The Rebels boast a Wallaby-laden attack but winger Andy Muirhead said the ACT side was confident they could match it with the star-studded outfit.

"We like to think of ourselves as a pretty dynamic backline so it'll be a good way to see where we're at after a break against a red hot backline that the Rebels have," he said.

"We've got some unreal outside backs that iIm up against so it's just try and put our best foot forward individually at training and that sort of thing and hopefully you get picked.

"Myself and the other back three are pretty happy if they get picked but if someone else gets picked, they're pretty happy as well."

The Brumbies beat the Rebels in their only clash in 2020, snapping a four-game losing streak against Melbourne.

The Brumbies host the Rebels at GIO Stadium on Saturday July 4, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here.