Holmes sparkles in Brumbies opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Holmes sparkles in Brumbies opener

By David Beniuk 30/01/2009 11:14:26 PM Comments (0)

Brumbies halfback Josh Holmes gave an early indication he intends to challenge Luke Burgess for the Wallabies No.9 jersey in 2009 with a dominant display in a 28-14 win over the Hurricanes in the Super 14 trial at Canberra Stadium.

Holmes was in everything during his first half run and scored the only try of the first 40 in the 29th minute on a hot night in the national capital.

The No.9 was on the spot to crash over after 2008 revelation Tyrone Smith had made an incisive burst, Mark Gerrard's conversion giving the home side a 7-0 halftime lead.

The former Waratahs halfback also came close on two other occasions as the Brumbies began their new era under Andy Friend by dominating the territory and possession against an under strength Hurricanes side.

It wasn't all good news for the 22-year-old who was assisted off at halftime after taking a heavy knock following one of his trademark bursts.

Holmes has long been highly rated but is yet to realise his full potential, something he hoped would turn around when he switched to the Brumbies last year.

Burgess starred for the Waratahs last year but had a mixed debut international season, with his passing game coming under scrutiny.

Coach Friend made nine changes at halftime, including Holmes' replacement, ex-Western Force recruit James Stannard, and former Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone, playing his first game for the Canberrans in nearly two years.

The Canes made 10 changes, including Cory Jane who scored his side's first try five minutes after the break to make it 7-7.

A try under the posts to Wallaby prop Ben Alexander put the Brumbies ahead again 14-7 but the visitors hit back three minutes later through Zac Guildford as the second favourites for this year's Super 14 title began to get the better of the Brumbies' Bs.

But the Brumbies third halfback to be used, Patrick Phibbs, sealed the win with a 76th minute five-pointer before Afusipa Taumoepeau scored out wide to make it 28-14.

Test stars Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stephen Moore and George Smith sat out the trial.

Friend confirmed man-of-the-match Holmes had suffered no serious injury.

"I thought he did really well, he had a good 40 minutes there," the coach said.

Holmes said his first priority was to secure the Brumbies' starting position.

"I wanted to get a bit more consistency and a bit more confidence this year and running the ball a bit more myself ... I definitely want to be a running halfback," he said.

"I definitely want to be the No.9 for the Brumbies but there's still a lot of work to go so I'll keep working hard at that.

"I'll take confidence away from this game."

Friend was pleased with his first night at the helm.

"The most important thing for us is we're playing our style of rugby and I saw enough there today to say there's been a lot of intention in the stuff we've been putting in the last 14 weeks, we can get better at that," he said.

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