Dismiss Brumbies at your peril

The Brumbies may appear to be on a steady slide towards rugby’s abyss, but utility forward Adam Wallace-Harrison says you dismiss the Canberra outfit at your own peril.

Having scored just three wins in seven Super 14 starts this year, as well as losing three of their last four games, the Brumbies have slipped to ninth on the standings and appear to be no more than a long-shot for a place in the play-offs.

In fact it appears they have been in steady decline since they won their second Super Rugby title in 2004 – having finished fifth in 2005 and the last year of Super 12 and sixth last year, the inaugural Super 14.

This followed after they won two titles in the previous five years – 2004 and 2001 – while also finishing as runners-up in 2002 and 2000, and being beaten semi-finalists in 2003.

But Wallace-Harrison insists the team is still capable of reproducing both the form and results of years gone by.

Speaking ahead of his team’s Round Eight encounter with the table-topping, unbeaten Sharks in Durban on Saturday, Wallace-Harrison said all the qualities to make this a successful side are still there.

“We’re creating opportunities, we’re doing everything, apart from maybe the proper execution and finishing,” he told this website from the team’s base just north of Durban.

“It certainly is not panic stations [in the Brumbies camp].

“Everybody knows that as soon as we turn that corner we do have the ability, the personnel, the fitness and everything else in place to play good footy.

“We just got to go out there and do it.”

The 27-year-old Brumbies forward said they are hoping to “turn the corner” this Saturday against the Sharks.

“We can’t quite put our finger on why we’re not firing at the moment, but we do have the confidence that when we fire we can certainly beat anybody in the competition,” he added.

They are certainly not dismissing the Sharks. Contrary, they realise it will require a huge effort to overcome the tournament’s form team.

“It will be a huge challenge on Saturday … they scrum really well, their line-outs are good and they drive brilliantly.”

He said that the Brumbies will need to get into the game from the word go and not allow the Sharks to settle into their own pattern.

“We know that we will have to lay those foundations early, take out their game plan.

“We’re certainly not just looking at ways that we can hold them, we are looking at ways to beat them.

“We are certainly looking to play our own game, but we are aware that they are a very physical team, probably one of the most physical in the Super 14 and they’re going extremely well at the moment.

“However, we know that if we play well as a team, the personal performances will come with it.”

He also dismissed suggestions that injuries to key players – such as regular captain Stirling Mortlock and ace fly-half Stephen Larkham – can be blamed for the team’s struggles.

“Those injuries are chances for other players to make their mark and put up their hands. I think our squad is strong enough to cover those injuries anyway. We’re certainly not going in with the mentality that we’re without a man.

“We are still looking forward to Saturday with confidence. We’ve got nothing to lose, they’re the ones who are on a winning streak and we’re hoping that we can break that streak.”

In between his preparations for Saturday’s game, the man dubbed the team’s ‘Mr Versatile’ in 2006, had been eye the extraordinary big waves in and around the Durban area.

The freak storms that hit the KwaZula-Natal coastline in the past week and wreaked havoc, causing damage with hundreds of thousands of Rands, does have a certain appeal to a surfer that is used to Australia’s “big” waves.

Although the storm conditions have subsided, the surf remains good for somebody keen to hit the waves and Wallace-H

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