Game of two halves unsettles Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Game of two halves unsettles Brumbies

By Karlis Salna 07/05/2009 07:41:50 PM Comments (0)

Brumbies coach Andy Friend concedes uncertainty over which two of his halfbacks he'll cut from the squad for 2010 is an unwelcome distraction ahead of the side's crucial Super 14 clash with the Blues.

The seventh-placed Brumbies continue their tightrope bid for the finals when they take the inconsistent Blues in Canberra on Saturday night - their last home game of the season.

Friend admits it's been a less than perfect preparation with his decision on which two of the three halfbacks - Patrick Phibbs, Josh Holmes and James Stannard - will be let go to be made by 5pm on Friday.

With financial issues forcing the Brumbies to trim their squad for 2010 there is only room for two halfbacks, and one of those spots goes to Josh Valentine signed from the Western Force this week.

Friend, who had yet to make the decision, conceded it had been an unsettling week for the players involved.

"But that's the business we work in, we work in an environment where we're always scrutinised and under pressure ... obviously the timing of this is not perfect, but it is what it is, and the boys will deal with that in their own way," Friend said.

He said the three players facing the axe had asked for the decision to be made by Friday.

"They want to know if this is their last home game in front of a Canberra crowd.

"It is a hard decision and all players and coaching staff are conscious of the difficult decision that's going to be made there, but as I said, that's the business we work in ... that's a reality of our job."

Phibbs has the starting role against the Blues on Saturday, having shared it with Holmes during the season.

Friend said he was weighing up all factors as he wrestled with the decision.

"It's another day and a half of pondering and a couple of discussions and just making sure that when I make that call I've thought of every possibility and made the right decision."

"What I'm trying to do is make sure I've got the right balance for next year as we move forward ... and knowing with the playing style that we want to play that we'll have the right two halfbacks to be able to give us that."

The Brumbies, like other Super 14 franchises have been forced to reduce the size of their squad in the face of the tighter economic conditions brought on by the global financial crisis.

The Australian Rugby Union, however, is considering bringing in changes in 2011 which would make it compulsory for Australian Super 14 squads to be no larger than 30.

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