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Brumbies ready for next rugby challenge
Crystal Ja
17:53 AEST Thu Jun 28 2012

Super Rugby season is about to resume after the three-week international break and it seems the Brumbies are right back where they started.

Having to prove their worth as Australian conference leaders.

Jake White's surprise packets are within striking distance of their first finals campaign since 2004 but, with three games left, the coach is ever wary of teams who will be out to crash the Brumbies' party.

White named a 22-man squad to fly to Perth late on Thursday ahead of their clash with Western Force at nib Stadium on Saturday.

There have been several changes to the line-up that played on the other side of the break against the Rebels, with Henry Speight recalled to the starting 15 on the wing to replace Joe Tomane, who hurt his ankle in training with the Wallabies.

Newly-capped Australian representative Dan Palmer resumes his place in the front row, while Sam Carter has been brought in at lock over Leon Power.

The Brumbies, who've notched just the one win in Perth, face a difficult prospect against the Force, who will be full of emotion in farewelling lock Nathan Sharpe in his last home game for the WA franchise.

White agreed the Force, despite their lowly standing at the bottom of the Australian conference with just three wins, will be out to thwart the Brumbies' push towards the finals.

"And quite rightly so," he said.

"But that's no different to the Waratahs the next weekend and no different to the Blues who come to Canberra the third weekend.

"It's the same old, same old (for us) - we've just got to focus, play as well as we can.

"We've got a lot to play for, so there's going to be a lot of emotion for us as well."

Worst case scenario, the Brumbies, who now boast five Wallabies, need to win two games to ensure the Queensland Reds don't sneak past them for first place on the Australian conference.

Despite fears the international break could disturb the Brumbies' momentum, second-rower Peter Kimlin said it was like it never happened.

"The amount of excitement coming into this week has been pretty special and I think the first session we had on Monday was probably the sharpest of the year," said the lock, who added the Brumbies were out to secure a hat-trick of wins.

"We're not going into any games with any preconceived ideas about bonus points or four tries or whatever it is - it's just about winning games."

White said Tomane could be a possible starter next week when the Brumbies head to Sydney to take on the NSW Waratahs, as could No.8 Fotu Auelua, who misses the Force match on account of an injured hamstring.

Brumbies: Robbie Coleman, Henry Speight, Andrew Smith, Pat McCabe, Jesse Mogg, Zack Holmes, Nic White, Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Peter Kimlin, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Res: Anthony Hegarty, Ruaidhri Murphy, Leon Power, Ita Vaea, Ian Prior, Tevita Kuridrani, Cam Crawford.


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