Brumbies 'motley crew' ready for final
August 3, 2013
Skipper Ben Mowen and the Brumbies are quite comfortable with their underdog tag © Getty Images
A little over two years ago Brumbies captain Ben Mowen was calling his new teammates by the wrong name. The re-structured Brumbies playing group didn't have training kits, and the club had just finished a miserable 13th in the 2011 Super Rugby competition. Today Mowen's side will be vying with defending champions the Chiefs in Hamilton for the Super Rugby title.
"When we got together, back in June 2011, we were a bit of a motley crew," Mowen said. "Right from the start we've been underdogs and it's a tag that has sat well with us."
Mowen was all but forced out of the Waratahs at the end of 2011 season to make way for Rocky Elsom. Upon arriving at his new club he never would have dreamed he'd have a crack at the Super Rugby title before his old teammates.
"We were calling each other the wrong names there for two or three weeks and getting to know each other," Mowen said. "You definitely can't imagine at that stage that you'd be in a final two years later."
A large chunk of the Brumbies' success can be attributed to the appointment of South African World Cup winning coach Jake White in late 2011. He gutted the club of its egos, and built up a group of nobodies around a gameplan that oppositions find extremely frustrating and hard to combat.
"The Brumbies, since the inception of the club, have been the younger brother, the one that no one wanted," White said. "I brought in converts from rugby league, a couple of boys from Brisbane, a couple from Sydney and I think that was also the basis of how the club started. No one gives you a chance, no one thinks the Brumbies can win this weekend, but it's not important what anyone outside thinks."
White prides himself on his preparation.
When asked on Friday how he prepares such an inexperienced side for a Super Rugby final in just four days, White replied: "I haven't done it in four days, I've been talking to them about this since June 2011."
Follow live text commentary of the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and the Brumbies on Saturday, August 3, from 7pm (NZT), 5pm (EST), 7am (GMT)
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the Super Rugby final
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year