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University of Canberra Brumbies prop Scott Sio believes when opportunities arise you take them with both hands and run hard and straight.
Sio was a stand out in his run on debut against the Sharks in Durban two weeks ago, causing Brumbies Rugby coach Jake White to retain him at loose-head prop for the past two matches against the Stormers and the win against the Bulls on Saturday night.
With Ben Alexander feeling slightly unwell on the weekend, Sio played the full 80 minutes of the bruising encounter with the Bulls, making five strong ball carries.
He has produced similar strong performances since making his Super Rugby debut against the Sharks last season, and has been one of quickest developers in the young Brumbies forward pack this season. He puts his good form down to taking his chances when they come.
“We don’t get to play rugby forever and there aren’t a lot of guys that get this opportunity like we do , so i have always been brought up by my family to make the most out of all my opportunities,” Sio said.
“You have to be on your toes each week, with new challenges ahead and you have just got to be ready for it and know that you are prepared to step in wherever that is.
“It’s great to be part of a winning team at the moment and it’s good to know that for all positions there is competition for every player to retain their spot.”
Friday night’s match against the Southern Kings will see Sio face his fourth South African front-row in as many weeks, after scrumming down to the likes of Werner Kruger, Frans Malherbe and Jannie du Plessis in the past three matches.
Sio’s performance against these three big South African front-rowers has given him plemty of credibility in becoming a force at Super Rugby level.
But with so much rugby still before him, Sio is making sure his recent form doesn’t allow him to get ahead of himself by solely focusing on the rest of the season with the Brumbies.
“Obviously as a young kid, you grow up wanting to play for your national side. But my main focus and main goals are all Brumby driven at the moment, towards our bigger goal which is to win the competition,” Sio said.
“I guess thats a reward you get sometimes for playing well but the scrummaging performance on the weekend came from all eight of us playing well and working as a core unit.
“Right now my main focus is here in the ACT making sure I can do whatever I can for the team.”
The Brumbies forward pack dominated their bigger Bulls counterparts on Saturday night, causing the South African’s scrum to crumble at crucial times during the match.
Sio puts the performance down to confronting each week and each different forward pack with the right mind set and team work to get the required result.
“Half the battles in scrums are down to attitude. If you go in there with any slight doubt you are just going to get hammered, so you have to treat every scrum the same,” Sio said.
“We are taking it one game at a time with a new scrummaging challenge every week and thats how we have been building it up through the pre-season.
“We aim to to go out there and dominate each and every scrum.”
One man who is very pleased with Sio’s form is University of Canberra Brumbies Forwards Coach Laure Fisher, who is building the side’s pack to be one of the strongest in the competition.
Fisher believes Sio is taking all the right steps to becoming a vital and reliable source for the Brumbies scrum, but suggests that as with all young players there are still some things to work on.
“For a young bloke it’s important to take opportunities and he knows himself he has a long way to go scrummaging wise. But he has a lot of strength to his bow. He carries the ball well, he tackles well and he contests the breakdown well,” Fisher said.
“He is a really good ball carrier, so I'm not surprised about anything i have seen and certainly pleased with his application to try and be as good as he can be.
“He has skills across the board, and still a lot of improvement to go.”
Under Fisher, the Brumbies forward pack has been renowned for having a fierce and versatile attitude, that has stood up and delivered against much bigger and more experienced packs.
With dominating displays in the first four matches this season, Fisher believes the loss against the Stormers was a big learning curve for the Brumbies forwards, but one which they quickly learned from and took into the game against the Bulls.
“We have had a good start to the year forward wise. It was a huge challenge against the Stormers and we learnt a few lessons out of that game,” Fisher said.
“We were certainly not happy about our scrum against the Stormers, we got beaten up a couple times there. So it’s just a really good response from the lads.
“Scrummaging is still a very important part of the game and if we can provide the platform and put a bit of pressure on opposition then it serves the rest of the team well.”
“I thought we took another step forward in the Bulls game, so we are tracking ok at the moment."
The University of Canberra Brumbies play the Southern Kings this Friday night at Canberra Stadium with kick off at 7.40pm.