Brumbies revival is inspiring: Huxley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies revival is inspiring: Huxley

By David Beniuk 23/04/2008 06:44:36 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies may have found inspiration in Julian Huxley's battle with a brain tumour, but their former teammate says he's found the same in the Super 14 team's refusal to give up on season 2008.

Huxley was diagnosed by a routine check after a sickening head knock during the Canberra side's win over Queensland in round three and underwent surgery two-and-a-half weeks ago.

The Brumbies have battled a crippling injury crisis for most of this year's campaign but have rallied for upset wins over the highly-rated Blues and Sharks in the past two weeks to keep their semi-finals chances alive.

Asked if he'd found the team's revival inspiring for his own recovery, Huxley said: "Absolutely. It offers a lot of joy in seeing the guys turn around that loss to the Chiefs the week after away to Auckland.

"That was fantastic, the spirit was there for everyone to see and the heart, and then again last week against an undefeated side, second in the comp.

"They came out in the second half and really showed the courage and the passion that I think is unique to the Brumbies.

"It gives you a bit of a shot in the arm.

"I don't know if they'd gain as much inspiration from me, I wouldn't want them to but it's certainly fantastic for me to watch the boys doing well."

Huxley made a rare public appearance on Wednesday at the Australian Rugby Union's announcement of its seven "rugby statesmen" and said he was there to thank the game for the support it had given him.

"I've just gone through all that outpouring of support in the last month and ironically the whole direction of rugby is to take that spirit and ethos of the game as we're moving forward now, so it's coincidental that both messages sort of fit," he said.

Sporting a No.1 haircut and a large scar across the top of his head, Huxley has already made it back onto the golf course and hasn't given up hope of playing rugby again.

But he has a six-week block of daily radiotherapy beginning in two weeks to deal with first.

"I've got to do the radiation and see how that goes and possibly chemo, I'm not sure, those are the things I need to do before considering rugby," he said.

"Only time will tell. The motivation's there to do it but I'm not going to be stupid about it, that it's going to risk your life or anything. It's not a risk worth taking but I'll stay in rugby in some capacity."

Meanwhile, his ex-teammates will go into Friday's game against the Lions in Canberra with two changes.

Skipper Stirling Mortlock returns after a head knock and John Ulugia replaces Saia Faingaa at hooker.

Ulugia impressed in the set piece off the bench last week and is 10kg heavier than Faingaa as the Brumbies seek to counter the big Lions pack.

"At 113 kilograms, Luge (Ulugia) will give some size and stability to our set piece," coach Laurie Fisher said.

"He's still developing a lot of the technical aspects of the position, but he's very strong and he gets around the field well for someone of his size.

"We need to continue to get consistency in our set piece and use that as a platform to attack from against a very enthusiastic Lions outfit."

Brumbies: Mark Gerrard, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Tyrone Smith, Francis Fainifo, Christian Lealiifano, Patrick Phibbs; Julian Salvi, George Smith, Mitchell Chapman, Mark Chisholm, Alister Campbell, Guy Shepherdson, John Ulugia, Nic Henderson. Res: Saia Faingaa, Salesi Maafu, Peter Kimlin, Ben Alexander, Stephen Hoiles, Josh Holmes, Sanualio Afeaki.

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