13 Aug Plus500 Brumbies Promote Talented Duo
The Plus500 Brumbies Academy structure, which was re-introduced in 2018, has already started to produce the next generation of Super Rugby talent after centre Len Ikitau and prop Tom Ross were promoted to the Brumbies Wider Training Squad for the 2019 campaign.
Both Ikitau and Ross were recognised for a superb club season with selection for the Junior Wallabies side that competed in the World Rugby U20 Championships held in France recently, although Ikitau’s tournament was cut short due to injury.
You can sign up for the Brumbies 2019 season, just like Tom and Len when Plus500 Brumbies Membership go on sale on Wednesday 15 August.
Ikitau, pictured above second from the left, a hard-running back, was a member of the Canberra Vikings side that made it all the way to the Grand Final of the National Rugby Championship last season, whilst Ross has been in exemplary form in the local Griffin Legal John I Dent Colts competition dominating at the set-piece.
Plus500 Brumbies Head Coach Dan McKellar has high hopes for both young players if they can continue their rate of progression when joining up with the senior players that form the core of the Brumbies Super Rugby set-up.
“Len is a very talented player,” McKellar commented. “He is left footed, which is often over-looked, has great footwork and an excellent defender too. He’s progressed through our program and now he gets a chance. It’s just about working hard now, knuckling down and learning what it means to be a professional player.
“Tom has come through the pathways system. He played Aussie schoolboys and was outstanding at the U20 World Cup playing a lot of minutes at a demanding position there.
“He is a hard worker and an excellent character, and he has a thirst for set-piece which is so important. At that position, you have to want to scrum and want to maul. Tom has that naturally.
“We talk about character a lot, and Tom is a great young bloke who just works hard and goes about his business and is excited about the opportunity he’s been given.”
Both players were ecstatic about signing for the club with Ross having held dreams of playing for the club since he was a boy.
“It’s certainly something I have dreamt about since I was a kid and to finally get that opportunity means the world to me,” Ross said. “I’ve always wanted be a Brumby and there were times where that didn’t look possible, but I guess it’s good to see that the hard work is starting to pay off.
“I’m excited to be in that professional environment with a very passionate group of guys. I’ve had a taste of it over the Pre-season and to be in that environment for a living is awesome. I’m very excited to train alongside some of my great mates too.
“Mack [Hanson], Ryan [Lonergan] and I have been playing footy together since we were in under 12’s so I couldn’t imagine anything better than wearing a Brumbies jersey alongside those two legends.”
Ikitau echoed the comments of his contemporary and is keen to get started on making his Super Rugby dream a reality.
“I’m stoked to be signing my very first contract with the Brumbies,” the vibrant centre commented. “It has been a goal of mine since moving down from Brisbane in 2016 and to finally achieve that I couldn’t be happier.”
“It means the world to me, getting the opportunity to train full time and do what I love. I am just very thankful.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity of working with some high-class athletes. The wealth of talent and experience we have at the club is overwhelming and having players such as Tevita [Kuridrani] and Christian [Lealiifano] can help develop my game.”
Full details on Brumbies Membership is available at the Brumbies website on www.brumbies.com.au.