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'No excuses' for Brumbies despite Valetini, Lolesio injuries

Wed, 11/05/2022, 7:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Brumbies travelled across the ditch for a clash against the Chiefs.

The Brumbies are confident they can defy injuries to superstar duo Rob Valetini and Noah Lolesio as they prepare for the Crusaders.

Valetini's injury is the most serious of the duo, with coach Dan McKellar expecting him on the sidelines for a couple of weeks after picking up a hamstring complaint.

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Meanwhile, they have opted to take a careful approach with Lolesio after he pulled up 'dusty' following a physical victory over the Chiefs.

“It happens, doesn’t it? We play a contact sport and it’s unfortunate injuries occur to anyone at any stage,” McKellar told reporters.

“We’ve just got to get on with it. We can’t drop our bottom lip and we feel like the squad is well prepared to handle setbacks like this.

“The reality is you need to deal with adversity and just get on with it. There will be zero excuses from us on Friday night. We’re turning up to win.”

The Brumbies have recalled Rod Iona to the starting side, with the Samoan International set to once again lead their attack after stepping into following an ankle injury to Lolesio.

Along with this, lock Tom Hooper shifts to flanker after impressing on his starting debut against the Rebels.

Both players come into the squad having featured in several games in Super Rugby Pacific this year as McKellar and the coaching staff constantly shuffled their side, expecting them to slot in perfectly as they prepare for their toughest task of the season.

“There’s no excuses from our end,” McKellar reinforced.

“Rod’s played plenty of footy for us this year and has trained at ten all year. He’s prepared and ready to go, he’s got good experience and that’s been the whole point of rotating and making sure we provide opportunities because if this happens, guys are ready to play.

“It’s the same for Tom Hooper. I’m excited there, he’s a young Owen Finnegan-type character so we’ll so how he goes. He’s excited at the best of times so when he was told he would be wearing six instead of tight-head lock, that excites any lock.

“He’s a good young footballer with a great attitude. He’s been superb off the bench and the game he started. He’s no Rob Valetini, I want him to play how Tommy Hooper does and he’ll bring a whole lot of repeat efforts and carries.”

BRUMBIES (1-15): James Slipper, Lachlan Lonergan, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Caderyn Neville, Tom Hooper, Jahrome Brown, Pete Samu, Nic White, Rod Iona, Andy Muirhead, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Tom Wright, Tom Banks

RESERVES: Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Luke Reimer, Rory Scott, Ryan Lonergan, Ollie Sapsford.

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