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While the Wallabies were away taking on the Welsh and Scots at various locations around Australia, the remaining University of Canberra Brumbies players were busy preparing for what shapes as a tough run home to a possible finals berth, four weeks from now.
With games against the Western Force (away), Waratahs (away) and Blues (home) over the next three weeks, the side was aware when training resumed this week that wins were vital to keep their closest rivals, the Reds, at arm’s length.
But rather than get carried away wondering what could be, the University of Canberra Brumbies have shifted their entire focus to beating the Force this Saturday night.
A former Perth boy with plenty to prove, rookie lock Scott Fardy has worked hard for what will be his first visit West since leaving Force Academy four years ago. A strong ball carrier who makes very few mistakes, Fardy spent his formative rugby years playing alongside many current Force players, not only with the West Australian Super Rugby franchise but also with the Spirit in the ARC.
Fardy was just 23 at the time and although he was named 23rd man on several occasions, couldn’t find his way into the match day 22. But a three year stint in Japan and a quality pre-season with the Brumbies thrust Fardy into the spotlight and he is now regarded as one of Australia’s most promising up and comers.
“It’s been a long three weeks for the guys who weren’t involved in Wallabies, we’ve been back in here in Canberra training pretty hard so everyone is pretty keen to get on the plane this Thursday night,” Fardy said.
“The break worked in our favour. There were a few guys with niggling injuries they had to take care of and I know my own preparation for this game against the Force has profited from that time off playing.
“I came off the bench the first time we played the Force this year, but things have changed a bit since then. We were pretty limited in how we could play then. I think I remember the crowd booing us because of all the kicking and a lot has changed since then.”
In a game which featured plenty of kicking for territory, the University of Canberra Brumbies managed to squeeze home over the Force 19-17 thanks to tries to Robbie Coleman and Jesse Mogg.
Coming off the bench, it was Fardy’s Super Rugby debut, ironically against the side he had almost cracked at the start of his career.
The University of Canberra Brumbies leave for Perth on Thursday afternoon.