Brumbies winger Toole still in the frame for quarter-final

Tue, Jun 6, 2023, 1:02 AM
by AAP
The Brumbies look to lock up a top four spot against the Rebels

Winger Corey Toole is racing the clock to be fit for the Brumbies' Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final against the Hurricanes.

Toole hurt his ankle in the Brumbies' 33-17 triumph against Melbourne on Friday night and took part in light training on Monday.

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He will test his injury with a key training session on Tuesday as he attempts to prove his fitness for Saturday night's clash.

His presence will be crucial if the Brumbies are to beat their New Zealand opponents and keep their season alive for another week, with captain and vital prop Allan Alaalatoa out and hulking lock Nick Frost needing to get through his own knee injury.

Toole impressed in their narrow 32-27 loss to the Hurricanes in round 10 with a try and some brilliant runs, with coach Stephen Larkham paying tribute to his brilliant debut season.

"It's hard to beat speed," Larkham said.

"Like (fullback Tom Wright) and (winger Andy Muirhead), because they've been playing together for the whole season there's a good combination and a good confidence among the three.

"His try on the weekend was special, we've seen a number of opportunities where Tooley's made some breaks ... the way he finished that try, that hunger to get over the try-line was something every coach wants to see."

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland was glowing in his praise of Toole, saying he had caught the eye when preparing to play the Brumbies in April.

"He didn't surprise us because we've been a bit of a fan ever since we started doing our analysis for the first time we played the Brumbies," he said.

"We were pretty impressed with him and I know CJ (former All Blacks winger and Hurricanes assistant coach) Corey Jane thinks he's something pretty special.

"He's only a little dude and he's fast, but he seems like a pretty tough bugger as well.

"I reckon he's something special and obviously the more 15s he plays, it looks like he's gonna get better and better."

But whatever side the Brumbies can field, the Hurricanes know winning in Canberra will be a tough challenge.

Their season ended at the same point last season, losing 35-25 in a Canberra-hosted quarter-final.

"They're tough anywhere ... their pack and their ability to be physical, it's always a challenge when you go over there or when we played them earlier here in Wellington," Holland said.

"It's probably been tough to win, not necessarily because of Canberra, but probably because they're a good side.

"There's a couple of key things we think we have to do really well to beat the Brumbies and if we don't get things quite right they can really hurt you."

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