In the early days of the Brumbies, one of the key ingredients to their success was the strong bond among the playing group.
Some even suggested they were so close that they finished each other’s sentences.
Most players lived together in apartments at Kingston and their closeness to each other was reflected on the field.
It’s been pretty much that way ever since, and I would suggest that it is one of the reasons why the Brumbies are the lone Australian team remaining in the finals race in 2023.
High in the team gym at UC is a banner that highlights the Brumbies as a family in bold lettering.
Veteran prop James Slipper alluded to the tightness of the playing group after the 37-33 victory over the Hurricanes.
With players such as Nick White and Pete Samu among six players leaving at the end of the season, along with forwards coach Laurie Fisher, there was little talk of winning the premiership.
Instead, Slipper said the deeper they progressed into the finals series, the more time the playing and coaching group had together. The enjoyment factor that they shared in the company of each other is high.
This point is emphasised by lock Tom Hooper: “We are around each other a lot. So is every other team. We just have a mateship that extends beyond the field, and we have a high level of respect for each other and accountability within the team.
“We love playing alongside each other. We love playing for our coaches. We love playing for our fans. We’re just blokes that were thrown together and put in the Capital with a few local boys. We’re doing it for a big country town.”
Assistant coach Rod Seib says the city of Canberra itself is a key ingredient to the Brumbies’ on-field success.
“I think the secret part of the recipe is Canberra,” he explains.
“Everyone lives so close, and there’s no traffic, so they connect all the time. You don’t have to force connections. The reality is they do so much off the field together, and you see that connection on the field.”
Prior to the Chiefs game at GIO a few weeks ago, the Brumbies players who competed in the 2013 final where the Canberra team narrowly went down to the Chiefs gathered.
A reunion appeals to Tom Hooper.
“We want to be a team coming back to Canberra in 10 years’ time, having a few beers celebrating a reunion of something pretty special.”
Without a doubt, this is a group of players that understands the word ‘team’. It was there for all to see at Canberra Stadium in the quarter-final, and it will be unmistakable in their performance during the semi-final on Saturday at Hamilton when they take on the Chiefs.
To watch the Brumbies and the Chiefs, visit the Brumbies for details.
Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.