The Brumbies managed 6th spot in last year’s Super 14, and will be ruing the fact that they could not secure a semi final spot, having won the same amount of games as 4th placed Crusaders, but not securing enough bonus points.
Their battle for a play off spot this year seems an even bigger challenge if one takes a look at the squad assembled. For lack of a better word, it seems a bit depleted. There are few names that really jump out at you as game breakers.
The one player who strikes fear into any South African supporter is Rocky Elsom, who does so well for Australia time and again, and is a massive player for the Brumbies. He has been unlucky with a hamstring injury and is almost certain to miss the first game of the season against the Chiefs.
Another mammoth player in the Brumbies scrum is Mark Chisholm, who must be one of the top line out jumpers in Australia and will boost the Brumbies scrum significantly.
Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper will be the backline stars, with Ashley-Cooper reportedly hoping to take over the 13 jersey from Stirling Mortlock, who has moved to the newly created Melbourne Rebels. Ashley-Cooper played 13 for the Wallabies on their End of year tour and looked decent.
Giteau will be looking to regain form from previous seasons before he decides what to do post World Cup. It has been reported that he is yet to make up his mind and the Euros might be calling his name.
Apart from Mortlock, the Brumbies also lost stalwart George Smith, who has moved to Toulon and plies his trade for the French team after retiring from international rugby at the beginning of the 2010 Super 14 season.
My prediction for the Brumbies is for a difficult season where they will end up behind both the Waratahs and the Reds in their conference.
Fantasy League players to note: All their stars are well known and mentioned above, including Giteau, Chisholm, Ashley-Cooper and Elsom. Watch out for talented youngster in Pat McCabe.
Full Brumbies 2011 Super Rugby squad:
Alexander, Ben Prop,
Ashley-Cooper, Adam Utility Back,
Chapman, Mitchell Flanker/Lock,
Chisholm, Mark Lock,
Edmonds, Huia Hooker,
Elsom, Rocky Flanker,
Faingaa, Colby Flanker,
Fainifo, Francis Wing,
Giteau, Matt Flyhalf/Inside Centre,
Hand, Ben Lock, Hoiles, Stephen No.8/Flanker,
Hooper, Michael Flanker,
Kimlin, Peter Lock/Back row,
Lealiifano, Christian Flyhalf ,
Ma’afu, Salesi Prop,
McCabe, Pat Fullback/Centre,
Moore, Stephen Hooker,
Palmer, Dan Prop ,
Phibbs, Patrick Scrumhalf ,
Salvi, Julian Flanker,
Smith, Andrew Utility Back,
Smith, Tyrone Centre,
Stubbs, Ed Centre,
Taumoepeau, Afusipa Centre/Wing,
Toomua, Matt Flyhalf,
Valentine, Josh Scrumhalf,
White, Nic Scrumhalf,
Yanuyanutawa, Jerry Prop,
Wara, Samu Wing/Fullback (Rookie Contract)