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After a gruelling World Cup campaign, a successful spring tour of Wales and England and his own wedding in Durban, Wallabies and Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore returned to training with the Brumbies this week ready to tackle 2012.
He was joined by fellow front-rower Ben Alexander on Thursday leaving the Brumbies just one play short of their full squad.
The last outstanding player, Fotu Auelua, will join the Brumbies later this month once his commitments in Japan have concluded.
Moore cemented his standing as one of the world’s top hookers in 2011 with dominant performances for both the Wallabies and the Brumbies.
While he and his front row combinations of Dan Palmer and Alexander have a wealth of experience to share, Moore joins a largely inexperienced team short of years but not enthusiasm.
“There are quite a few new faces around the place so for the first few days I’ve been getting to know everyone,” Moore said.
“The break over Christmas was nice, we had a busy year with both the Wallabies and the Brumbies and it was good to have some time away from the game.
“I’m looking forward to the start of Super Rugby and I know the rest of the boys are looking forward to taking the field after a tough pre-season.
“There are still a few weeks of hard work to go but the group’s come a long way in the lead-up to the Christmas break.”
Now one of the longest serving Brumbies, should Moore remain uninjured for the 2012 Super Rugby season and play every game he will reach 50 ACT caps against the Rebels in Melbourne (Week 15) and 100 Super Rugby caps against the Blues (Week 21).
Trailing just four players (Alexander, Christian Lealiifano, Peter Kimlin and Ben Hand) for Brumbies caps means Moore will be looked to for guidance and leadership throughout the season.
Like Moore, Alexander returns to Canberra having enjoyed some down time in Thailand and the USA over the Christmas break.
H/W: 1.86m, 112kg
DOB: 20/1/1983, Saudi Arabia
Super Rugby Caps: 84
Super Rugby Points: 35 (7t)
Super Rugby Debut: 2003 (Reds) v Bulls, Pretoria
Test Rugby Caps: 65
Test Rugby Points: 25 (5t)
Test Rugby Debut: 2005 v Samoa, Sydney