Brumbies to be better for 2011 shocker - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies to be better for 2011 shocker

Darren Walton 19/06/2011 05:17:33 PM Comments (0)

Departing coach Tony Rea believes the Brumbies' Super Rugby season from hell has made his humbled charges better men.

The Brumbies endured the sacking of coach Andy Friend two games into the competition, then suffered a franchise-record 11 defeats and played in front of their smallest crowds in Canberra for more than a decade.

Their four victories from 16 starts marked the Brumbies' lowest winning percentage in the 15-year history of the tournament and they signed off with their worst-ever Super loss to arch-rivals NSW, a 41-7 hammering in Sydney on Saturday night.

Further souring the sombre dressing-room mood was the knowledge that a dozen players are moving on, including Wallabies stars Matt Giteau (Toulon), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Mitchell Chapman (Japan), Mark Chisholm (Bayonne), Salesi Ma'afu (Western Force) and Test captain Rocky Elsom, whose is yet to settle his playing future.

"Just looking at them, it's been tough. But as a group of men, I think they're a lot better now for what they've been through," Rea said.

"Some of the things that they've experienced will ... there's no finish line to what they're learning.

"It might be the end of the season, but the stuff that's gone into those bones is going to be important for those men going forward, which has been good for them.

"We've been to hell."

With Elsom and regular skipper Stephen Hoiles missing most of the campaign through injury, Rea said it was hard to say if the Brumbies relied too heavily on caretaker captain and playmaker Matt Giteau.

"You want to play your trump when you're under pressure as a team," he said after the Waratahs defeat.

"They kept playing that card when they wanted to get there. I thought that again tonight. I turned to Steve Larkham during the game and said: 'We're playing Gitty ball again. We just keep going to where he is.

"Steve turned back and said: 'Is that a bad thing? Probably not sometimes when you're under pressure."

Giteau, for his part, didn't believe he'd been overburdened.

"I feel that when the team's going poorly, you want to do more," he said.

"So at no stage did I feel as though there was too much pressure placed on me.

"When you're given a responsibility like that - and for me it was my first year as captain - it's not tough.

"I think if you were to go through years like that every year consistently, it would be draining. So for me it was challenging, but I enjoyed that challenge."

Giteau doesn't think the Brumbies' immediate future is all bleak.

"Recruitment has got a lot to do with it," he said.

"It doesn't necessarily need to be the big names but, if you recruit the right people with the right work ethic and attitude, that will go a long way for them.

"Looking at leadership, you've still got Stephen Hoiles there, who has been captain of the Brumbies for three or four years.

"And I thought Stephen Moore this year has been really good as far as leadership and demanding certain things from the group, which easily they could have been soft on, especially in the forwards.

"So he's helped me a lot as well."

Rea is also farewelling the Brumbies, with former World Cup-winning Springboks coach Jake White taking over next season.

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