Brumbies want to make it count

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 13:47
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Brumbies coach Jake White is keen for his team to capitalise on their sky-high confidence levels when they face the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

Brumbies coach Jake White is keen for his team to capitalise on their sky-high confidence levels when they face the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

White's unbeaten charges have made a very convincing start to the season, claiming three bonus points from their four games and conceding just two tries, so their coach is determined for them to make the most of their momentum against what he believes will be a desperate Stormers side.

White's former Springbok assistant coach Allister Coetzee has already suggested that his Stormers side will be the underdogs on Saturday, and the Brumbies boss was happy to agree with his old friend considering his team's impressive start to the season.

"We are very confident - we haven't lost yet, we have conceded just two tries, we have scored some of the best tries in the competition so far and we have got an experienced team running out there.

"A lot of people who understand the game will know that it is based on momentum and confidence, and this group is very confident in their abilities. They know if they pitch up and do what they are capable of then there is no reason why we can't beat anybody," he said.

However, White understands that despite the positive atmosphere in his squad, they cannot afford to take anything for granted against a Stormers side that needs the win far more than they do.

"We respect the Stormers, they are playing at home where they beat the champions of last year. They are also desperate, they know that they need to win this home game if they want to stay alive in this competition so we are under no illusions about the fact that they are not just going to be handing it over to us.

"We are confident in our ability and we know that if we do everything we can then we can win, but we are not going to get ahead of ourselves and think it is just going to happen," he explained.

The Brumbies stunned the Sharks in Durban last week with an early blitzkrieg which effectively ended the game as a contest after 25 minutes, and White is keen to force the Stormers to chase the game in the same way, which would put their attacking game under the spotlight.

"We would like to believe that if we score more tries than the Stormers it is going to be difficult for them to win with kicks.

"Their attack hasn't been up to it and Allister [Coetzee] himself has agreed that they need to work on their attack. So it is going to be an interesting game because as much as the Stormers need to win, they also need to score points," he said.

Another impressive aspect of the Brumbies' game this year has been their ability to close matches out, and White is determined not to give the Stormers a sniff in front of their big home crowd.

"I remember watching that Stormers side fight back at Newlands and get some good wins over the last couple of years. So it is not a fait accompli that if you get a good start you are automatically going to win against the Stormers, 40 000 people at Newlands have managed to carry the Stormers from losing into winning situations," he said.

Although their early success this season may have brought extra pressure as front-runners, White has urged his team to embrace the challenges that come along with being top of the pile, as he clearly plans to stay there for a while.

"What I have tried to get the boys to understand is they must enjoy it. They must enjoy playing in front of 40 000 people, playing in a country where rugby is first, second and third, and they must enjoy the fact that people want to beat them now because they are obviously being seen as a threat in the competition," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
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Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28