Brumbies eye Highlanders to stop rot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies eye Highlanders to stop rot

28/03/2011 09:11:10 PM Comments (0)

A strong recent record against the Highlanders looks to be one of the few positives the Brumbies will take into Friday's Super Rugby match as the Canberra-based side hope to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in the competition.

A heartbreaking 29-22 defeat to the Waratahs on Saturday completed the Brumbies' worst losing streak since 2005 and marked their slowest start to a Super Rugby season since the competition began in 1996.

Skipper Matt Giteau said the Brumbies were creating the chances to win matches but handling and passing skills continued to let the side down.

"We're getting into the team's 22 quite easily and once we're there, maybe a dropped ball, some execution is dropping off there," Giteau told reporters in Canberra.

"I don't think we're too far away from clicking.

"A couple of those 50-50 balls stick and we'll score those four tries (for a bonus point)."

Individual errors, particularly catch and pass skills, had let the Brumbies down again against the Waratahs.

"This week, obviously we'll be doing more handling drills but once you're playing, it is a matter of the boys stepping up," Giteau said.

He said the Highlanders have been well led by All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan, with the New Zealand side off to their best start in five years with three wins and two losses.

"They seem to have a lot of confidence in the way they are playing," he said.

"Obviously they have been getting some good wins, where the one on the highveld where they beat the Bulls was a pretty impressive win."

"We know it is going to be a tough match for us."

Giteau said intensity at the breakdown had lifted this season where the Brumbies have improved in recent weeks.

"If you look across the board, a lot of the teams have put a stronger emphasis on the breakdown," he said.

"That's something on the weekend where we made huge steps forward."

The prospect of Adam Ashley-Cooper leaving the Brumbies for the Waratahs had not been discussed by the team, Giteau said.

The Wallabies back has to decide by Thursday if he is to remain with the Brumbies or move to the Waratahs from 2012.

"I don't think it is weighing on the team and I don't think it is weighing on Coopy much," he said.

"He seems pretty relaxed."

Ashley-Cooper was likely to remain at fullback for the Highlanders match after Pat McCabe was ruled out for a second straight week with a strained hamstring.

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