International stars float back into Canberra

The University of Canberra Brumbies international representatives have returned to Canberra ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Western Force.

After three Tests against Wales and the international season opener with Scotland in Newcastle, the ACT’s Wallabies players have turned their attention to this weekend’s clash in Perth.

With Dan Palmer, Ben Mowen, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Jesse Mogg, Joe Tomane, Nic White, Pat McCabe and Michael Hooper all missing in the Capital during June, it’s been a chance for the rest of the team to reflect on where it sits in the competition and work out how it will feature in the finals in a month’s time.

After claiming his first three Test caps, Hooper will now face off against one of the world’s best open-side flankers in David Pocock, a player he has been training and living with for the last four weeks.

Over the last month of rugby, Pocock has developed from a world class player to a successful Wallabies Captain presenting Hooper with another challenge in his first career start against the Force No 7. 

“It was good meeting the guys you play against week in and week out then forming combinations with them out on the field and to learn from them,” Hooper said.

“David was really good for me in that sort of setting. He really took me in and showed me the ropes. It’s going to be weird playing against him this week after spending the last month together in camp.

“He passed on some of his knowledge, to keep working on the things I do well and to bring those to the game without trying to do too much on the field. It was good advice.

“Like the Rebels, the Force are tough to play at home. If we get our game together I think we should be good enough to get a win. They’ve always got a good, mobile back row which will inevitably present us with some extra challenges but we’ll do our homework and be prepared for that.”

Also returning to Canberra after a stint with the Fijian national side on Monday was Jerry Yanuyanutawa. The tough prop helped his side to second in the Pacific Nations Cup, claiming three caps for his native country in the process.

“It was very emotional for me the first time they played the anthem and when I was handed my first jersey to play for Fiji,” Yanuyanutawa said.

“I’m amazed by the talent in Fiji. We are pretty well known as a country that supports sevens but after spending the last month with the national team I can see that a lot of those skills are being transferred into the 15 man game.

“In saying that I’m happy to be back in Canberra and helping the boys out. It all starts this weekend against the Western Force.”

The University of Canberra Brumbies leave for Perth on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s clash at nib Stadium.