Brumbies looking to run wild

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 10:31

SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: New Brumbies coach Dan McKellar believes his team can behave like the animal they are named after.

McKellar told Fox Sports that the team will look to improve the team's try-scoring record by tweaking the team's style of play in favour of more attacking play.

"We've been focusing on it for a while now, but certainly this pre-season we've changed the way we want to play the game," McKellar said.

"If you think of the Brumbies over the last few years - certainly while I've been here over the past four years - we've been known for our line-out, our maul, our breakdown and our defence, so we've identified that we need to score more tries.

"To do that, we'll tweak how we'll play the game and certainly make sure we're more threatening from unstructured situations and transition."

The Brumbies have made the Super Rugby playoffs the last two years as Australia's conference winner but were bundled out in the first round both times.

Whilst having a strong set-piece the Brumbies scored just 43 tries in 2017, miles behind the finalists from the last two seasons Hurricanes (97), Lions (92) and Crusaders (86).

McKellar said the Brumbies would still look to use their set-piece as a weapon, but the team needed to become better rounded to beat the top teams.

"I was told a stat recently from (new backs coach) Peter Hewat - there are 30 turnovers a game on average, so you need to make sure you're taking advantage of those transition opportunities from a kick- return and turnover attack.

The Brumbies scored just three tries from their own half last season.

"Making sure that we're stretching the defence, keeping them under pressure for as long as possible and capitalising on those opportunities.

"We can't be so reliant on our line-out and our maul and our set-piece to win a competition.

"Whilst that will win us games at times, in conditions and oppositions that we're playing against, it's not going to win us the Super Rugby comp and that's our end goal.

The return of classy flyhalf Christian Lealiifano will help bolster the attack, while Force-recruit Chance Peni will add some strike power out wide with established stars Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight.

McKellar said in many respects he would be continuing to build on the attacking foundation left by Larkham.

"We certainly tried, we worked on it last year, this is not new," McKellar said.

"Stephen identified that last year and after that bye round [in Round Seven] we came out against the Reds and we had done a lot of work on transition and kick return and we blew the Reds away at home, so it's certainly not something that's new.

"As individuals, we all have our own ways of how things can be done.

By Mike Hunter, RugbyPass

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Fri, 01 June 2018
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 12 6 0 6 30
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 12 2 0 10 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 11 0 2 50
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23