Christian Lealiifano has praised the focus and effort of his team following Saturdays hard fought 26-21 win against the Blues at GIO Stadium.
The playmaker, who passed a personal milestone of 900 Super Rugby points on the evening, converting three of the four tries scored, says the strong forward play and the performance of young debutant Len Ikitau were large contributors to the victory.
“When the forwards execute a plan like that it’s nice to watch but you feel for them because they are working hard for you,” Lealiifano commented in the post-match media conference held at the Stadium.
“We got some reward there with some sin-bins but the pressure they put the Blues under was really good. I thought the whole forward pack were immense in fulfilling their role. Each player had a role to do at scrum and maul time and they executed it consistently under pressure.”
Ikitau, the Tuggeranong Viking prodigy, made his starting debut at centre filling in for the injured Tevita Kuridrani and becoming Brumby #219. Lealiifano said that he slotted in seamlessly to the starting side and came up with big plays when called upon.
“I just loved his composure, nothing rattled him,” Lealiifano confirmed. “He was focused on his task and he executed every time he had the footy, and when he defended he did his job really well.
“He gave us a lot of confidence, he came up with some big plays during the game. Obviously when you are on debut and those things are working, you keep going with it and I was really impressed by him tonight. I’ve been impressed by him for a long time it was good to see him get a crack.”
Following the Brumbies tour of South Africa and Argentina, Lealiifano revealed that the Brumbies had no intention of taking their foot of the gas stating that the team was focused in their preparation and ready to execute on game day.
“After the bye we shifted our training standards and went up a gear in our preparation,” he commented. “Coming off the travel we had the boys did well to focus and prepare well and making sure their minds are right to execute their role in the game.
“Whatever outcome the game has, whether you win ugly or playing really well, the boys are in the right headspace in order to achieve that. For me as a leader, it’s exciting to see and it builds confidence.”
Words: Eamon Moore