Brumbies coach: 'I've got nothing to prove'

Last updated 12:43 25/07/2013
Jake White
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JAKE WHITE: "No-one thinks the Brumbies can win this weekend. But it's not important what anyone outside thinks."

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ACT Brumbies coach Jake White has declared he has nothing to prove to the Australian Rugby Union in his team's semi-final after he was overlooked for the Wallabies job this month.

The Brumbies will play the Pretoria Bulls on Sunday morning, Australian time, with a spot in the final up for grabs.

White has lifted the Brumbies from competition battlers just two years ago to within two games of the Super Rugby title.

But the ARU opted to give Ewen McKenzie the Wallabies coaching reins when Robbie Deans was sacked, saying he understood the Australian style.

The Brumbies finished on top of the Australian conference while McKenzie's Reds finished fifth and were bundled out of the play-offs last week.

''I've got nothing to prove, I just do this job because I love it,'' White said. ''I put my hand up to coach international rugby, I didn't get the job and that's the way it goes.

''You've got to keep going. It's not a show of trying to prove anything to anyone, it's just about doing the best I can.''

White has named an unchanged line-up for the clash with the Bulls.

It's the first time this season the Brumbies have fielded the same match-day 22-man squad this year.

Veteran winger Clyde Rathbone keeps his place on the wing while Wallabies speedster Joseph Tomane will be used as an X-factor from the bench.

The Brumbies are aiming to become the first team in Super Rugby history to beat the Bulls at their home ground in a finals match.

They went within two points of beating the Bulls in Pretoria in 2012, but their rally was too late and they lost 36-34.

Springboks flyhalf Morne Steyn sunk the Brumbies that night with a 24-point haul.

But while Steyn's boot at altitude looms as a dangerous threat, Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said the visitors wouldn't hold back at the breakdown.

The Brumbies are the most penalised team in the competition, but have also recorded the most turnovers at the breakdown.

''We learnt last year that you have to take your shots early, we had an ordinary start against the Bulls last time,'' Mowen said.

''We closed the gap late but to be fair they clocked off knowing the game was done. Morne can kick them from anywhere and the Bulls rely heavily on him to accumulate pressure and build points.

''We have to be disciplined early ... we'll go as hard as normal at the breakdown. Our motto is that possession has to be contested and we won't be giving them anything for free.''

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The Brumbies broke a nine-year play-off drought when they beat the Free State Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium last weekend.

They booted five penalty goals to secure a two-point victory.

White said the Brumbies were bracing for a physical onslaught from the dominant Bulls, who won nine games in a row before a last-round stumble two weeks ago.

''I'm not going to deny we play knock-out football every week, when we started we had to go back to winning ways and sometimes people say that's conservative,'' White said.

''But you've got to get the building blocks in. We've got a recipe for getting results.

''We want to write our own chapter. We're mindful and respectful of what the Bulls have done, but history [against the Bulls] is made to be broken.''

- Canberra Times


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