Wallaby coach saves high praise for Brumbies
April 5, 2000
Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen paid the ACT Brumbies a massive compliment, saying they were playing the best rugby in their history.
Four straight wins have pushed the Brumbies to third place on the ladder at the halfway stage of the tournament. A 64-0 mauling of the Cats last weekend completed a four-match sweep of the South African teams and equalled the tournament record-winning margin already held by the Brumbies.
Macqueen's lavish praise was particularly notable because he coached the team to the 1997 Super 12 final.
"I think the Brumbies' performances are probably the best they have put on the paddock since their inception," Macqueen said. "I think that the sequences and the players that have been together and the understanding they've got are the best performances they have put together".
Macqueen's new assistant-coach Ewen McKenzie stressed the Brumbies faced their toughest Super 12 assignment of the season at home to the second placed Highlanders this weekend.
"We are in this transition period at the moment, I think the hardest game we are going to play is our next game because we are going from South African to New Zealand teams," said McKenzie, the Brumbies forward coach.
The national coach conceded some of his senior players in the struggling New South Wales team, including fullback Matthew Burke, were well below top form and being outplayed by rivals from other Australian teams.
"That's true, (but) it's difficult to function as an individual when the team is not functioning," Macqueen said. Asked about the Super 12 form of his Wallabies, Macqueen admitted they were "a mixed bag".
However, the Australian mentor said one positive aspect of the tournament was the good form of some of the younger uncapped players like Waratahs youngsters Phil Waugh and David Lyons and Brumbies lock Justin Harrison, who were all "starting to put their hand up now".
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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