Brumbies buoyed by Mortlock news

The Brumbies, back in the top four on the Super 14 standings and currently on a hot streak, were further buoyed on Monday by the news that captain Stirling Mortlock could be available for the final stretch of the league stages.

The Brumbies have not only won their last three matches, including back-to-back victories on the road in South Africa, but their 36-10 demolition of the Waratahs at the weekend saw them move back into play-off contention.

Now the Canberra-based franchise will enjoy a perfectly-timed bye this coming weekend, before a succession of high-stakes encounters with fellow semi-finals aspirants the Western Force, Crusaders and Highlanders.

And coach Laurie Fisher is hopeful of having a full-strength line-up – including Mortlock – for the first time this season when the Brumbies host the Force and attempt to complete a clean sweep of their Australian rivals at Canberra Stadium on Friday week.

“He hasn’t received a medical clearance [for Mortlock] at this stage, but [the Force game] will be five weeks and it’s a four-to-five-week injury, so we’re hopeful,” Fisher told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

When Mortlock broke his hand in the Round Seven loss to the Cheetahs, the outlook was bleak for the then lowly-positioned Brumbies.

But the return of veteran playmaker Stephen Larkham from a chest injury in his best form in more than a year has coincided with a hat-trick of wins.

And suddenly the Brumbies have emerged as a genuine title threat, especially on the stylish form they displayed in dispatching the Waratahs for the first time in four years.

“It was a fantastic return to form for him,” Fisher acknowledged before urging his troops to maintain the momentum during what he believes will be a sudden-death run to the playoffs.

“If we drop a game now we’re as good as gone. So it’s about refocusing on our next opposition, enjoying a few days off recovering and working out what we need to do to beat the Force at home.

“It’s been 10 pretty hard weeks, so there’s certainly some bumps and bruises and it’s a chance to regather our thoughts now and let the other teams bash it out next week.

“I think that’s good for us.”


365 Digital

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