University of Canberra Brumbies coach Jake White believes his side has the mental and physical capacity to bounce back from their loss on Sunday and win their fifth game of the season against the Bulls on Saturday night.
White’s men returned to Canberra on Monday night after their two week tour of South Africa, which resulted in a 29-10 win against the Sharks and a 35-22 loss against the Stormers at Newlands on Sunday morning (AEDT).
But the Bulls are shaping up to be the Brumbies most physical battle yet and come to Canberra having spent the last four weeks on the road.
The three-time Super Rugby champions are renowned for their physical forward pack and aggressive play but White believes the Brumbies have the ability to take it to them up front.
“We are comfortable enough that our team is big and strong enough against anybody and we know exactly what the Bulls are going to bring to us,” White said.
“We played the Bulls at Loftus last year so we know what worked against them and what didn’t.
“At least I know the players know at the back of their minds what’s coming.”
The University of Brumbies nearly prevailed in their last meeting with the Bulls, going down 36-34 at Loftus Versfeld in round 9 last season.
But while White believes the Bulls will be eager to finish their four week tour on a high, he is adamant his side can learn from their mistakes in the loss against the Stormers and again take it up to the Bulls forwards.
“The Bulls are now on their way home and they are going to try to make sure they finish their tour in success,” White said.
“Last weekend provided us with a platform on how we have to play against bigger sides.
“So there is defiantly a learning curve out of the game, but the challenge for us now is how much of that learning we take into this week.”
White also expects to welcome star duo Nic White and Jesse Mogg back into the side after recovering from their injuries which saw them rested against the Stormers.
Both Nic White and Mogg have started the 2013 season in remarkable form, posting their claims for Wallaby selection and Coach White is looking forward to having the pair back in the side.
“They have recovered quite nicely by having the week off, so I'm hoping all things being equal they will be available for selection on Saturday,” White Said.
“It’s a major boost having guys like this come back from injury because they have been so good for us this season.
“Both Jesse and Nic are very important in how we get from our D and C zones into the A zone. So it will be good against the Bulls if we can get them both back.”
Another player who has played an important role for the Brumbies this season is Peter Kimlin who has been a standout in the side’s forward pack.
After only arriving back from South Africa on Monday night, Kimlin admits the side does take a while to recover from overseas tours, but expects the team to perform in what will be their third game in a row against a South African opponent.
“It’s obviously good to be home, but the boys are pretty tired and we will have a big emphasis over the next few days to recover from our travel,” Kimlin said.
“Each South African team has a different game style and they are all really physical, so it’s just a matter of fronting up each weekend.
“It’s never easy playing South African teams week to week, but we are really looking forward to playing the Bulls on Saturday.”
After playing the first three games this season at flanker, Kimlin was shifted to second row for the two South African games to allow for bruising ball runner Fotu Auelua to shift into the starting side.
But Kimlin says he is more than comfortable at second row and is keeping his possible selection for the Wallabies in the upcoming Lions tour at the back of his mind.
“I started my career at second row, so it’s a pretty easy transition and the way we play is pretty similar, so it’s not too bad at all,” Kimlin said.
“I don’t really mind about the Wallabies at the moment as I am completely focusing on the Brumbies.
“The Brumbies is where my heart lies and that’s where it will lie for the rest of the season.”
The University of Canberra Brumbies play the Bulls this Saturday night at Canberra Stadium with kick off at 7.30pm.