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Brumbies received Valetini boost as they prepare for ‘tricky’ Pasifika challenge

Thu, 26/05/2022, 12:08 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Brumbies hosted the Blues at GIO Stadium in a top of the table clash.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is refusing to take Moana Pasifika lightly in their quest for the top-three finish, hopeful of having Rob Valetini back on board for the finals.

Valetini has missed the past fortnight with a hamstring injury, forced to watch from the sidelines as the Brumbies went down to the Crusaders and Blues.

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The 23-year-old is progressing well, with McKellar optimistic he could be available a week earlier than previously expected.

“I think we could’ve picked him this week, medical stuff would shoot me if I said that,” McKellar told reporters with a smirk.

“He’s running really well, he’s doing well. We’ll have some discussions in the background there but he’s in a good position for next week.”

Valetini is set to be joined by Luke Reimer, who limped off the field against the Blues, with the flanker's loss offset by the return of Jahrome Brown.

McKellar and the Brumbies face the difficult chance of travelling to Auckland to face a hungry Moana Pasifika following Tuesday's defeat to the Force.

"It's a great opportunity for us to tidy up out a few things that we reviewed from last week, and that's how we're treating it," McKellar said.

"It's a tricky game. Their last game of the year, they'll be well up for it at home in front of their supporters and family and friends.

"Nothing changes for us, we’ve got to front up physically and know if we do that and we’re disciplined around that we’ll create some opportunities but if we go over there a bit flakey and hope that it happens, then we'll be disappointed."

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This attitude is reflected in McKellar's squad selection, making limited changes to the team that fell to the Blues, including the inclusion of Wallaby Connal McInerney as he continues to rotate hookers.

Outside of fighting for position, the club will be looking to honour Wallaby duo Darcy Swain and Tom Wright as they play their 50ths.

The pair have become core members of the team, with McKellar confident they will quickly rack up triple figures in the nation's capital.

"They've been consistently in our group, week after week for a long period of time now," McKellar added.

"Darcy came through our pathways program and I'm really proud of where he's at with this career at the moment. He's developing into a really good leader, and an important part of our pack.

“‘Wrighty’ is the same, just on the wing. His voice, his detail, his knowledge around the game, the ultimate professional and it’s a nice milestone for the boys to rack up but it wouldn’t surprise me if both boys play well into the hundreds."

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