Plus500 Brumbies Number Eight Lachlan McCaffery has said finishing matches in the second half, as well as a strong junior section coming through the ranks, are keys to help the Canberra boys get up over the Waratahs this weekend.
Speaking ahead of the clash this Friday night with the Sydney based squad, McCaffery reflected on the positives which the Brumbies have shown despite their most recent loss to the Melbourne Rebels last weekend.
“Looking back on it, there’s obviously a few learnings in that second half but that first forty minutes, I think, is the best forty minutes of rugby we’ve playing in a long time,” he said of the match.
“I don’t think there’s many teams that will go down to Melbourne and dominate like we did in the first half. They’re a quality side and when we stuck to our game plan, I don’t they had many answers for us in that first half.
“In the first half, we exited really well, and I think that’s been a problem over the first month of footy; when we get out of our D zone, we play some really good footy but just knowing when to pull the attack and play out set piece and maul then our territory game.
“That second half didn’t reflect where we are as a group, the coaches and players put so much in to this, but we just let ourselves down in that second forty… there’s so many good teams in this tournament, you’ve got to exit well from your own half.”
Though they face the Wallabies-stacked Waratahs this Friday night, McCaffery notes the Brumbies’ junior squad may come in handy to help beat the visitors given the depth of young, local players in the Canberra side.
“We’ve got a bunch of Runners boys who’ve come off an awesome win and they were buzzing yesterday at training and their energy is always high.
“Even when some of the older heads or the Wallabies are away, there’s some really special young kids coming through here that step up without any problem.
“Obviously a lot of the players at the Brumbies were seen as never good enough to make it at the Waratahs but that’s a healthy competition.
“We had a good win against those boys last round in Sydney and it’s still early in the competition where every point is important but the main this is just worrying about ourselves and making sure we convert the positives we’ve had so far into an 80-minute performance.
“I think it’s important we just stick to our process, we’ve got a pretty young squad where luckily a lot of the boys are from Canberra. 10 years ago, a lot of the squad were down from Sydney who couldn’t make it there.
“Luckily a lot of the Canberra boys are born and bred in Canberra and have no affiliation with the Waratahs system at all… I think it’s healthy that they don’t really care what’s happening up north in Sydney.”
Words: Jordan Mulach