Big-name Brumbies have lifted: Friend - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Big-name Brumbies have lifted: Friend

By Tom Wald 04/05/2010 05:27:59 PM Comments (0)

The problem with superstars is they often come with super-sized opinions.

And that has been the cause of some angst for Brumbies coach Andy Friend this Super 14 season as he has tried to maintain a happy camp in the nation's capital.

Having added the likes of Matt Giteau, Rocky Elsom and Justin Harrison to an already formidable playing list for the 2010 season, Friend admits that pulling his star-studded outfit together has been a challenge.

"We have got a lot of very experienced people within that side and therefore a lot of opinions," he told AAP.

"Just getting them all on the one page has been interesting to deal with.

"There has been a lot of discussions amongst ourselves as a group how we best should be functioning.

"I actually felt leading into the Waratahs game that we were going to see it that night and we obviously didn't (in the 19-12 defeat).

"So when it occurred on Saturday night (in the 32-12 win over Queensland) it did not really surprise me to be honest but it was pleasing to see it happen."

Friend believes his players are firmly on the same page before Saturday night's crunch match against the Highlanders in Canberra.

The Brumbies boast the cream of Australian rugby and have in the past had a reputation of players holding considerable power within the franchise.

The two-time Super champions have been brilliant in patches but also proved highly frustrating this season with injuries and new combinations not aiding their cause.

But Friend, in his second season at the helm in Canberra, backed his players to make a stirring finish to the season and force their way into this month's Super 14 finals.

"It still is going to be a work in progress," he said.

"One good game does not mean we are home and hosed."

"We have been getting results but our performance has not been up to the standard that we have been setting ourselves."

With only two points separating third from seventh place on the ladder, the sixth-placed Brumbies need to beat the unpredictable Highlanders and account for the Crusaders in Christchurch in the final round to enhance their finals aspirations.

But Friend said his men couldn't look beyond the 12th-placed Highlanders after they rolled the NSW Waratahs in Invercargill last weekend.

"The Highlanders are a tough side, you don't want to be looking at ladder positions with where they sit at the moment," he said.

On the team front, Friend said that George Smith (shoulder) was a good chance of being fit for his Canberra finale while fellow stalwart Stirling Mortlock (back) is likely to have played his final home match for the Brumbies.

Smith is leaving Australian rugby while Mortlock will join the Melbourne Rebels next year.

Five-eighth Matt Toomua is set to come back into the side and push Matt Giteau out to inside centre.

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