20 Nov Brumbies Academy Producing Tomorrow’s Stars Today
The key ingredient for Brumbies success has stayed constant since 1996; a core group of locally produced and developed talent.
One year on from the re-introduction of the Brumbies academy, a total of twelve players in the current senior group have now come through the pathway system in Canberra, the lion’s share in fact being born and reared here in the Nations Capital.
Some of those have been around a while. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin and Tom Cusack are experienced campaigner’s now and are both expected to play large roles in 2019. Joe Powell, as local as they come, is already an established international having had his start in rugby at Marist College.
Connal McInerney’s story is well known as well, the Erindale product toiled away for many years in the local scene before breaking through to Super Rugby level last year.
Ryan Lonergan, Mack Hansen and Tom Ross have grown up playing together since they were kids, progressing through the ranks lock and step all the way through to Junior Wallaby honours and the professional side.
The latter duo, Hansen and Ross, went to school together at Daramalan College, and are teammates at the Gungahlin Eagles. Their friendship is a remarkable story, two kids who dreamt of playing for the Brumbies and have gotten to the precipice of achieving that dream, together.
There’s also guys like Len Ikitau and Darcy Swain, who didn’t necessarily grow up in Brumbies land, but came of age as rugby players here, in the Brumbies system. Like Tom and Mack, Darcy and Len went to school together at Brisbane Boys College, before making the move to Canberra.
Ikitau starred at U20 level for the Brumbies and his performances in the number 13 jersey for the Canberra Vikings in this season’s NRC competition point to the growth in the Queensland native since arriving in the Capital.
Swain meanwhile, made his debut in Brumbies colours this year, coming off the bench against the Jaguares for brief, but impressive cameo. A player who has become a well-respected member of the Brumbies squad, Swain’s progression took a massive leap this offseason with the Vikings, playing almost every minute of the competition.
Rob Valetini was a real coup for the Brumbies when the Wallaby-in-waiting signed back in 2017, but he was still a raw talent back then, and with some sculpting and guidance, a potential world-class number 8 has blossomed in the Brumbies set-up.
Vunipola Fifita and Bayley Kuenzle have signed with the Brumbies for this season, both being potential steals having both played at the Junior Wallaby level. These are the types of players who often come to the Brumbies as unproven guys with potential, who develop into legitimate Super Rugby calibre operators.
Then there’s the next generation. The Brumbies pipeline is brimming with budding stars and five of those will train with the senior group in preseason. Angus Wagner was one of the best tightheads in the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup last season having represented the Brumbies at U20 level alongside Swain, Ikitau and Hansen.
Lachlan Lonergan, Will Goddard, Noah Lolesio and Lachlan Osborne form the rest of that group, having starred at the Inaugural U19 National Championships in Brumbies colours recently.
It’s an impressive conveyor-belt of rugby talent and it shows no sign of slowing down.
The Brumbies Academy is proudly supported by the Brumbies Foundation. For further details on the Foundation and how you can get involved please contact Dale Bertram on firstname.lastname@example.org.