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University of Canberra Brumbies forward Sam Carter believes Tuesday’s clash with the British and Irish Lions will not only be an exciting challenge for the young ACT side but also a great opportunity for the team to test themselves against some of the best players from the Northern Hemisphere.
The Lions will arrive in Canberra confident after strong performances against the Western Force, Queensland Reds and Combined Country, and with the clash against the Brumbies their last before the three-Test series they will be wanting to put in a strong performance.
But while Carter does expect the Canberra Stadium blockbuster to be an enormous challenge, he remains upbeat about the Brumbies chances of recording a famous victory over a highly fancied opponent.
“It’s a great honor to play the Lions and because these games only come around every 12 years we will use it as motivation to really put in a good performance,” Carter said.
“I think it’s exciting that we get to play such great players and I think it’s a great opportunity for us to go up against some of the best in the world.
“We need to concentrate on what we have been doing successfully all season and hopefully we will get a good result.”
The match will be the first time the Lions have played at Bruce since their 2001 tour where they recorded a narrow 30-28 victory over the ACT, scrapping home in the dying seconds against a second string Brumbies outfit missing stars such as George Gregan, George Smith, Stephen Larkham, Jeremy Paul and Joe Roff.
It was the closest any of the Australian Super Rugby sides came to overcoming the Lions and with a strong forward pack and impressive defence, Carter is confident that the Brumbies can go one better in 2013 and get the win.
“We are taking Tuesday as a massive game for us and it will be a good opportunity to keep the fitness levels up going into the Super Rugby break.”
“Every British and Irish side always makes their set piece a major priority, we haven’t been doing too badly in the line-outs and scrum’s this year so hopefully we can match them up front.
“I have no doubt that most of the blokes in the forward pack can really step up and match them and hopefully we can soften them up and run them around, so they are exhausted for that first test match.”
Brumbies fly-half Matt Toomua was only 11 last time the Lions toured Australia and is also thrilled at the chance of testing his trade against the men in red.
“It’s really exciting, it only happens every 12 years so logic probably tells you that you only get one go at it,” Toomua said.
“All of us here at the Brumbies know the history about the Lions and the fact that we came so close in 2001, so we definitely want to go well against them this time round.
“They have been pretty exciting to watch so far, so from a personal level it’s pretty cool to challenge myself against some of the best players in the Northern Hemisphere.”
Toomua has been a standout in the number 10 jersey all season for the Brumbies and played a starring role in the side’s 37-19 win against the Melbourne Rebels last Friday night.
It’s this form that Toomua will hope to showcase on Tuesday when he faces off against an extremely dangerous back-line which could feature players such as Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Sexton, Owen Farrell and George North.
But despite the wealth of experienced players, Toomua says the Brumbies will prepare for the Lions game no differently to any other match.
“You don’t really change too much, we try and prepare the same every single game so this game is no different,” Toomua said.
“In terms of getting up for this game, we are going to be fresh and ready to put our best team on the park so we have no excuses.
“We have had a reasonable time off and if anything that should make us a lot fresher and more excited about the occasion.”
The University of Canberra Brumbies face the British and Irish Lions this Tuesday night at Canberra Stadium, with kick off at 7.30pm.