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  • Brumbies and Waratahs put tensions on hold for Wallabies camp after controversial clash

    2018 - 07.03

    The ACT Brumbies will shelve Super Rugby hostilities to join forces with the NSW Waratahs in camp this weekend, adamant the fire and controversy of a heated battle in Sydney will be buried to focus on the Wallabies.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Brumbies players will be reunited with the Waratahs at an Australian team camp in Brisbane a week after their rivalry took a new twist when NSW flanker Jacques Potgieter admitted directing homophobic slurs at two Brumbies.

    It has been suggested that the incident has divided opinion among the playing ranks, despite NSW and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika voicing his support for David Pocock after the Brumbies flanker raised concerns with the referee on the field.

    South African Potgieter won’t be in camp, but Brumbies-Waratahs tensions have been at their peak in recent years as they compete for Australian conference supremacy.

    The Brumbies contingent, including Pocock, will be part of the Wallabies training group in Brisbane as Cheika starts putting his World Cup plans in place.

    It’s an unusual scenario so soon after trading blows on the field and a shift from the past where Wallabies haven’t been called together until the end of the season.

    But Cheika’s mantra of bashing each other in Super Rugby and mates afterwards is ringing true, Brumbies back-rower Scott Fardy declaring that pausing state rivalries will be “the sign of true professionals”.

    “We’ve all got mates [at other Australian teams] and once you’re wearing different colours, you know you’re going to be into each other and it’s going to be passionate,” Fardy said.

    “You fight with your brothers harder than anyone, that’s the way it is.

    “It’s great for Aussie rugby, that’s what we need to have. The more intense our games are, the better it is for the development of Australian players.

    “It’s the sign of true professionals, you can turn on intensity and then go back to being mates again straight after the game.”

    Pocock’s role has attracted some public backlash and former Wallaby Greg Martin suggested that players would be “fractured upon clear-thinking modern footballers who will support David Pocock and the more old-school, hard heads who will say that was a disgrace he shouldn’t have done that”.

    The Brumbies and Waratahs have shared a rich rivalry for the past 20 years.

    But it has been reignited in recent seasons, including the perceived friction caused when former Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen was captain of the Wallabies and NSW players were punished for breaking curfew in Australian team camp.

    Cheika, though, was confident there’d be no lingering ill-feeling or potential for division among the Wallabies.

    “It’s been put to bed,” Cheika said. “I’ve spoken to him (Pocock) already because I saw a few reports where people have said he shouldn’t have said it and I told him what I thought.

    “I told him he 100 per cent has the right to say it.”

    The next fixture on May 1 in Canberra will have an explosive build up with finals hopes on the line and the lingering tension from the Waratahs’ 15-point win in Sydney.

    The Brumbies will return to training on Friday after being given four days to recover from the first six games of their season.

    The Brumbies are still at the top of the Australian conference, winning four of their six games, and they play four of the next five matches in the capital.

    But their four wins have come against Australian opponents and the only two games they have lost were against the Super Rugby champions of the past two seasons – the Waratahs and the Waikato Chiefs.

    The Brumbies need to claim the scalps of more fancied opponents to show they can be title contenders, but Fardy insists the team doesn’t have a point to prove.

    “It’s important that we get back to winning ways, we’ve got a few home games coming up … it’s a good opportunity, we’ve got to win all of those and trying to stay undefeated at Canberra Stadium is something we’re looking forward to doing,” Fardy said.

    “I don’t think we have to prove anything. We know if we play our best we can match it with anyone.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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