<
>

Breakdown in Brumbies sights as they look to bounce back against Blues

Stronger ball carries and faster work at the breakdown is in the sights of Brumbies coach Dan McKellar following his side's crushing 21-point defeat at the hands of the Chiefs on Saturday night, according to fly-half Noah Lolesio.

Falling to a third straight loss - their second of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman [TT] tournament - the Brumbies are feeling the pressure with their chances of reaching the TT final all but extinguished.

Undergoing a particularly harsh review session on Sunday and again on Monday, Lolesio said the team was left devastated following the result, but that people would be held to account for their performance and the breakdown would be firmly in the spotlight before they begin to focus on the Blues.

The Brumbies gave up 17 turnovers during their heavy loss to the Chiefs, their ball security at the tackle questioned as they were easily outmuscled.

"Obviously we're all pretty devastated after the result, it's not what we wanted at all," Lolesio said. "We've had a pretty harsh review so far and we're just keeping everyone accountable for that performance that we had.

"Today and yesterday we've just been focusing on this review against the Chiefs because we need a big response after that game and I'm sure we will.

"I think rugby in general you can have all the shape and structure to your game, but none of that can work if you don't have intent in your carry and a good, quick breakdown.

"We're really harping on that; our carries have to be better and hopefully with the carry the breakdown can be faster, so we can play off quick ball."

Brumbies winger Solomone Kata said a return to Brumbies rugby would help his side right their Trans-Tasman season after his team had been on the road for so long.

Facing the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU final before flying to New Zealand to start their TT season, the Brumbies have been on a four-week road trip with their three-week tour of New Zealand terminating in Auckland against the Blues this weekend. Only the Western Force will be on a similar three-week Trans-Tasman tour.

"We've just got to get out there and enjoy our Brumbies rugby to be honest and have fun," Kata said. "This week all our focus is getting out of our heads, finding a winning mindset.

"I know we've been away for a long time, some of the boys here have been away from family for probably the first time, so we've just got to get out there have some fun and play some Brumbies football and I'm pretty sure we can get a win this week. We're looking forward to it."

After two rounds of TT, all five Australian teams have gone winless giving New Zealand franchises a 10-0 record in 2021. Following such a poor start including several blowout losses, questions have been raised whether a 12-team Super Rugby competition in 2022 would be advisable for Australian rugby.

Despite this, Lolesio said there was definite benefits in playing New Zealand franchises.

"I'm feeling good to be honest [about the trans-Tasman competition]," the 21-year-old said. "I love playing the Kiwi teams. I reckon it's a different brand of footy compared to what us Aussie teams play, but it's a different challenge also, presenting different defensive pictures.

"I've been enjoying it, I've been enjoying the challenge and we're adjusting on the way and hopefully we can put on a good result on the weekend."