Brumbies face 'biggest' Super 14 test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies face 'biggest' Super 14 test

By Adrian Warren 24/04/2009 07:07:07 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies are set to ratchet up their defence for what skipper Stephen Hoiles has rated their biggest test of the Super 14 rugby season against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

A fourth straight victory would lift the seventh-placed Brumbies above the Hurricanes, who enter the round in fourth position.

The Brumbies, who have the fifth worst defensive record of the competition, are wary of the strike power of the Hurricanes, who have scored the third most points in the competition.

"Every week is a big test, but this is the biggest one we've faced all year," No.8 Hoiles said from Wellington, where the Brumbies have won three of their six Super 14 fixtures against the Hurricanes.

"They can put points on you from anywhere, they can blow you out of the park as they've done to a lot of sides and they can come from behind with 10 or 15 minutes to go and put on 10 or 15 points.

"They are unpredictable and they compete for everything.

"We've spoken this week a fair bit about defence.

"We've shown we can score points, but the difference between the average and really good sides in this competition is defence.

"We need to tighten that up and there's no better week to start. They have got huge potential to put points on you, so we've spoken a fair bit about the breakdown and defence, they are the two big ones for us this week."

The Brumbies have been able to focus more on rugby this week after their minds were inevitably distracted over the past two weeks by the loss of their team-mate Shawn Mackay in South Africa.

"The last two weeks were probably the toughest most guys have had in their career," Hoiles said.

"This week we have been able to put a bit more time into football, just to tidy up a few loose ends."

Hoiles wasn't overly concerned about several injuries suffered by his side.

"They are just the part of the game and we've just got to put them out of our mind and get on with the job and that's what we will do," Hoiles said.

He expressed confidence in young five-eighth Matt Toomua, who will make his run-on debut for the side in the pressure-packed position.

"He's a young kid who has been in the squad for a couple of years and he's had a bit of game time coming off the bench and he's got a big opportunity and I know he's looking forward to it and we've got all the confidence in him," Hoiles said.

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper made three changes to his pack, while All Black half Piri Weepu was listed among the reserves after battling a hamstring problem in recent weeks.

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