10 March 2023

Why Eddie should make the Brumbies the nucleus of the World Cup squad (and recall Laurie Fisher while he's at it)

| Tim Gavel
Start the conversation
Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones: will Super Rugby dominance transfer to the World Cup? Photo: Screenshot.

Speaking before the Brumbies’ 25-20 victory over the Auckland Blues last Sunday, Eddie Jones said he wouldn’t be satisfied with close losses to New Zealand Super Rugby teams.

He went further: “We want to see our players dominating New Zealand players.”

The inference is that by dominating Kiwi players in Super Rugby, it will transfer to test level.

Five hours after Eddie Jones’ interview, the Brumbies emerged victorious over a Blues side littered with All Blacks, including Beauden Barrett, Dalton Papalii, Rieko Ioane and Caleb Clarke.

The Brumbies, led by Rob Valetini, Nick Frost and Cadeyrn Neville, dominated the Blues’ forward pack in a game played with test match intensity.

READ ALSO Altina’s new zero-alcohol still wines will pack a punch at your next dinner party

The Brumbies effectively provided a blueprint for other Australian teams playing New Zealand teams, particularly when they show their willingness to contest at the breakdown.

What was impressive was the way the Brumbies adapted to the Blues’ rushing defensive line.

Against the Waratahs, they nullified the effectiveness of Michael Hooper. Against the Blues, Beauden Barrett was given little space.

The kicking game of Ryan Lonergan and Jack Debreczeni was also exceptional.

Sunday’s game was a step up in intensity from the weekend before against the Waratahs, yet the Brumbies had the ability to lift.

It is why the decision to release Laurie Fisher from his role with the Wallabies is puzzling.

Laurie Fisher, Steve Larkham, Rod Seib and Dan Palmer; Brumbies 2023 coaching team

Brumbies 2023 coaching team: Laurie Fisher, Steve Larkham, Rod Seib and Dan Palmer. Photo: Tim Gavel.

With Dan McKellar departing his assistant coaching role with the Wallabies to head to the UK, it leaves the forward coaching ranks a little thin.

Fisher, regarded by many as one the world’s finest forward coaches, has the Brumbies’ forwards firing. Perhaps it is not too late for a recall in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The Brumbies face another test tonight (11 March) when they face the Queensland Reds at GIO.

It has to be said the Reds were ordinary in the loss to the Hurricanes in the opening round. But they destroyed the Force 70-20.

Of particular interest will be the forward contest given the Brumbies’ physicality against the Blues.

READ ALSO Hands Across Canberra launches Canberra Day appeal, seeking $1 million for local charities

Reds number eight Harry Wilson was unstoppable against the Force. Mind you, there weren’t too many Queensland players who didn’t look like world-beaters on Sunday.

He will have his hands full against the Brumbies’ aggressive forwards, who will see it as their mission to limit his impact, especially in open space where he was so effective against the Force.

Saturday night’s game will be a step up for the Reds while the Brumbies will be looking for more of the same, which proved so effective against the Blues.

But as is often the case with local derbies, they can develop into an ‘in the trenches slog’ decided by penalty goals.

Let’s hope not.

The Brumbies take on the Reds tonight at GIO Stadium. Tickets from Ticketek.

Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.