Darcy Swain has been named to make his first start for the Plus500 Brumbies as they prepare to travel to Christchurch to take on the almighty Crusaders on Saturday afternoon.
It will be the biggest challenge yet of Swain’s young career as the Brumbies last won in Christchurch was over 19 years ago.
The towering 21 year old lock has grown both physically and mentally over the last twelve months in Canberra which has also earned him a three year contract extension.
Speaking to the media earlier in the week, Swain said that he has been eating a lot and training especially hard in order to put on the weight and be more of an opposing figure on the field.
“I still need to put a bit more beef on, i’m about 115 kilograms and looking to get to a lean 116. Last year i started at 108,” he said.
“From Dan (McKellar) specifically, it is to just get on the size and then bring the physicality and my skill whilst maintaining that agility that I have.”
Reflecting on the contract extension that he signed last week, Swain said that he has really grown to love the city of Canberra as it reminds him of home back in Cairns in far north Queensland.
“I’ve got some great friends and family that I have met from the Vikings. Also guys that I’ve known for several years from playing in school rugby and a bit of rep rugby playing for Queensland. I feel at home now.”
Brumbies and Wallaby prop James Slipper also shared his view on what it’s like to travel to Christchurch and take on the number one club side in the world.
“It’s about turning up and playing a game that you’re proud of. Walking off the field and knowing that you have done everything you can. We believe as a group that when we do that we can win games,”
Slipper said.Slipper has tasted success against the Crusaders when he won the Super Rugby title playing for the Queensland Reds back in 2011.
“You have to back yourself. When you back yourself, you train hard and you execute in the game. You have to turn up first and make sure your team is playing the type of footy that you want be playing.”
The Brumbies had a bye last week meaning that the majority of the playing group have been well rested and will be eager to clinch their third win of the season.
It will be an emotional return home for the Crusaders this weekend as it marks their first home game for the since the devastating terrorist attacks several weeks ago.
Kick off is at Saturday 3:15PM (AEDT).
Words: Rob Davison