Brumbies to hunt in packs in 2009 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies to hunt in packs in 2009

By Darren Walton and Jim Morton 08/05/2008 07:57:30 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies believe they will boast the best forward pack in Australian rugby next season following the prize acquisition of incumbent Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore.

In a major morale booster ahead of their latest must-win Super 14 encounter against the Bulls on Saturday, the Brumbies have announced Moore had opted to continue his career in Canberra rather than make the switch from Queensland to the Western Force, who had also been pursuing the 25-year-old World Cup rake.

Moore, who has played 20 Tests for Australia and 45 Super 14 games since debuting for the Reds in 2003, said the Brumbies' trademark attacking style and culture were the deciding factors in his move.

"I've always enjoyed the Brumbies' style of rugby and I believe it will suit my game," Moore said.

"There is a strong focus on player development at the Brumbies and this was a great chance to continue my progress as part of a world-class rugby program.

"I've played a fair bit of rugby with guys like Stirling Mortlock, George Smith, Guy Shepherdson, Mark Chisholm and Stephen Hoiles at Wallabies level, and having the opportunity to play regular football with them at the Brumbies was very appealing."

With Moore joining Smith, Hoiles, Chisholm, Shepherdson, Al Campbell and Nic Henderson next season, the Brumbies are set to field an all-Wallabies pack.

Chuffed CEO Andrew Fagan predicted the Brumbies pack would "absolutely" be the strongest of the four Australian Super 14 franchises, superior even to the NSW Waratahs, who are in serious danger of losing world-class trio Dan Vickerman, Adam Freier and Rocky Elsom.

"It's an absolute coup and we very much think, with what is a Wallabies-laden forward pack, (Moore's signing) sets us up very well for 2009," Fagan said.

"He's the critical part of the set-piece and I think he's the best set-piece hooker in the country and he adds a lot around the park as well as being a leader."

Moore is known to be a huge fan of Laurie Fisher, but Fagan wouldn't be drawn whether it means the outgoing Brumbies coach would actually stay on next season as forwards coach.

"They're two different issues," he said.

"He knows the few options we're looking at and he's comfortable with the range of issues we're looking at, so he was comfortable in signing knowing the decision wouldn't come until later."

Fisher, who is being replaced as head coach by former Canberra favourite Andy Friend, said the recruitment of Moore was "fantastic news for the organisation".

"Steve's a quality bloke and an absolute quality player, so he can really value add to our forward pack and that's very exciting for 2009," he said.

Fisher said although he was involved in initial discussions with his former Australia A charge, Moore ultimately made the decision independently.

"It's a credit to Stephen for that decision-making process and a credit to what the Brumbies as an organisation can offer irrespective of who's running the show," he said.

"He's a very intelligent guy and he would have weighed up that this was the best thing for him and his rugby."

Fisher was still unsure whether he would be offered an assistant coach's job for next season.

"Andy Friend needs to get the staff that he wants. Whether I'm in that picture, I couldn't tell you," he said.

"It's not up to me to say if I stay or not."

Moore's imminent departure from Queensland comes after the Reds controversially signed Brumbies hooker Saia Faingaa in March.

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