Early Super Rugby start welcomed by Brumbies

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Super Rugby kicks off on January 31 and the Brumbies have the chance to make an early impression with three home games, against the Reds on opening day, then against the Rebels and Highlanders in the next two weeks.

 

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar (pictured) said the early start offers several prospective advantages for his side.

 

He said: "I think it's a great opportunity for the game, AFL, rugby league, they're still in their preseason.

 

"For all the rugby lovers I think it's a huge opportunity.

 

"There's always going to be common sense around playing at that time of year if we do strike a couple of hot days or evenings then no doubt drink breaks and player welfare will be at the forefront of the officials' minds.

 

"It's nice and hot down in Canberra now which is a nice change from the last few months so we need to be prepared and comfortable with training and playing in those sorts of conditions," he said.

 

The Brumbies will have a significantly different look about them with some of their most well-known players having moved on after the end of the World Cup cycling.

 

Twenty-eight players are back from the 2019 season.

 

"There's a lot of them that have been a big part of our weekly 23 so it's a great opportunity for [our] young group of leaders, your Sios, your Alaalatoas, McCaffrey, Cusack, Powell, Banks, these sorts of guys – Kuridrani – there's a lot of quality footballers in and amongst them there," McKellar said.

 

It was now the responsibility of the 2020 group to build on the legacy the departing players had left.

 

Already, players like Tom Banks had been speaking about leadership and they are keen to fill the vacant void.

 

"I think that's a development in someone like Banksy's game, in Joe Powell's game, and that doesn't mean you change as a person," he said.

 

"I'm certainly not going to want guys that are normally quieter and don't say a lot.

 

"I want our leaders to lead through their actions, make sure that they've got their own game on-field and off-field in order and then when things need to be said, make sure you know you've got that voice to put your ideas forwards.

 

"I think Banksy and others, it's now their turn to step up and show some leadership, particularly in and around our backline," he said.