Super Rugby - Round 1
Brumbies still have a lot to improve: Mowen
February 17, 2013
Brumbies overpower disjointed Reds in Canberra
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen was upbeat following his team's 24-6 victory over the Reds in their Super Rugby opener at Canberra Stadium.
He did admit, however, that there was still plenty of work left to do if the ACT-based side are to challenge for honours in the competition this season.
A brace of tries to full-back Jesse Mogg made sure that the hosts got off to a perfect start but back-rower Mowen was well aware that there is a long way to go.
"We are realistic about where we want to go," Mowen said. "We are certainly not disappointed by that performance though, it's a great start, but in terms of where we want to end up we have a lot of work to do. The attitude is superb in the group and we will keep working towards that.
"There was a couple of times last year where we went through similar scenarios where you are down by about seven or eight points and we clawed back and won games and those are the kind of experiences that you can draw on at tough moments.
"Although they had lots of early possession and were rewarded with field position and points, we were confident we would get a lot of opportunities."
While picking up the four points was important, the Brumbies could have made life easier for themselves had their place kicking been better as Christian Lealiifano, Nic White and Mogg missed five attempts at goal between them - something that could prove costly in the long run.
Coach Jake White admitted that was an area that needed improvement.
"It's amazing how it all works. We brought our kicking coach into the game for the first time today and he sat next to me in the box," White said.
"Just having him there is a new experience. He warms them (the kickers) up and talks to them and perhaps it's too much information for them on match day. It's something I need to look at. I'm not blaming him, it's just something we had to try. I'll talk to the players and see how they feel.
"It's like anything though. Percy Montgomery was one of the best kickers I have ever coached and if he missed the first one he'd start having doubts so that was the same today. If you get the first one it all starts falling into place."
The plethora of missed scoring opportunities harked back to the disappointing end to the 2012 season when the failure to take the scoring chances on offer cost the Brumbies finals football when it seemed theirs for the taking.
And the similarities has White concerned.
"At half-time I was a little bit concerned that it was going to be deja vu again in that we had all the chances and missed a couple of kicks," White added.
"But all credit to the players as all the things we talked about at half-time they acted on and got some just reward. They (the Reds) haven't won the competition for nothing and they are a good side. They won the conference last year and they are really hard on the ball.
"Their breakdown work is fantastic so we had to try and adjust at half time and focus on keeping the ball and playing in their half, so to win is pleasing."
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