Brumbies on guard for Rebels ahead of Super Rugby Pacific opener

Sun, Feb 18, 2024, 9:52 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Larkham highlights importance of rugby community at Brumbies Fan Day

ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is keeping the focus internal and they prepare for a tough trip to Melbourne to face the Rebels on Friday.

The Rebels will finally get the chance to impress with their new squad after going into administration at the start of the year

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It looms as a dangerous game for the Brumbies in what will be the Rebels' first home game since the emotional developments.

“We’re concentrating on our preparation, I think every team that we come up against is going to have something to play for or some sort of motivation that we might not be aware of," Larkham said.

“We’ve started well today with our insert day coming off a week where we didn’t have a trial game at the end of it.

“We’ll get into it tomorrow and have two solid sessions in a modified in-season week that we’re trialling like we did in Perth in that trial.”

The Brumbies will be boosted by the potential return of Rob Valetini (foot) and Cadeyrn Neville, who both missed the trial win over the Force.

“The rehab program is going well at the moment but with any rehab, if they have a setback on any day that knocks them off course," Larkham explained.

“We’ve had pretty good continuity with the guys that played against the Drua and Force (in the trials). The hard thing with these guys coming back from injury and being a part of the game last week is that they lack that continuity.

“We’ll make a call by the end of the week whether those guys are a part of the team or if the training load has been enough and it’s too much of a risk to put them out on the field."

Larkham and the Brumbies are prioritising that connection on and off the field as they look to galvanise support in the nation's capital.

"It's really important for our program to connect with the community. All of the players that come down here have to pick a John I Dent Cup team and become part of the community. We're encouraging as much as possible the boys (to) get into their clubs and the rugby communities to spread the word of Rugby and show we're all connected," he added as the Brumbies enjoyed their Fan Day.

"That's the number one goal for the club at the moment…We feel as players and staff if we get more people through the gate, we play better, with more confidence and we put a better show on, and the result generally goes our way."

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