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Q&A: How the Coronavirus is affecting the Brumbies

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, and sport is no different. Rugby Union was already in a dangerous position before the virus outbreak. With the Super Rugby season postponed indefinitely, as well as community leagues, the sport is in serious trouble.

Before the outbreak the Brumbies were one of the form teams of the competition, sitting atop the Australian conference and second on the overall ladder. But their run has been halted due to the outbreak.

With a return date and a competition format unknown, the players will have to be ready for anything at any time. The Brumbies vice-captain Lachlan McCaffrey answered some questions about what the squad is doing to stay prepared, what a new competition might look like, and if their momentum will be affected.

(Photo: Lachy Lawson) 

Q: With all rugby currently postponed until at least June, how is the squad preparing for a possible restart and what might it look like?

A: We’re preparing for footy as soon as possible, and that’s all we can control. In terms of thought about competition, it’s a really good opportunity to put something together and try something this season. I haven’t talked to many of the boys about it, obviously, I haven’t seen some of the boys since we got told to train in isolation so that’s been hard. I think it’s a great opportunity for Australian rugby to try something interesting and new. There’s been a lot of negativity about the games against South African teams or Argentinian teams. I’ve always loved touring over there and playing in some of the great stadiums you get to play in. You want to beat the best to be the best in the Southern Hemisphere tournament. There is a lot of positives in whatever competition they put together, but I think the priority should be putting together a competition that the viewers really want to watch and get behind. If that’s an Australian only competition, with the Western Force back in, then so be it. All we are worried about is winning whatever competition we’re put back into. That was our goal since day one of pre-season.

Q: With talks of a different competition to replace the normal season, what do you think the public would want to see?

A: I think the majority of views is they want to watch Australian derbies. Over the last few weeks with all the talk in social media, I’ve been thinking about it a lot too. Personally, I love watching Australian derbies. You know blokes, the punters out there have gone to school with someone or their cousin knows someone. You’ve got that affiliation and you’ve got that connection to the players you’re actually watching on television. That’s what I think is quite special in terms of Australian derbies, you’re playing for spots. There have been some cracking derbies so far this year, and I thought some of the teams playing some attacking and interesting footy that the viewers can get behind. We’ve got so many good players in Australia too, I think a lot of people get scared of having Australian derbies because they think they won’t be as good quality as South African or New Zealand derbies, but I think that’s rubbish. I wouldn’t be worried about having an Australian conference at all. At the end of the day, the viewers and supporters are the most important thing in our game and if they want to watch more derbies, if they want to get behind an Aussie conference system, then I would love to be playing in one. Winning a trophy to be the best in Australia, you would get just as much joy out of it.

Q: The Brumbies enjoyed a strong start to the season; how do you keep the momentum going if they decide to restart the season from scratch?

A: That’s the problem that the trainers and coaches have been thinking about over the last month. At the end of the day, we would have no issue starting from scratch in whatever tournament we’re put in. It’s a shame, we were coming second place to the Sharks and they had one extra game then us, so we were in a good position. But a lot happens in a season of footy and we hadn’t got to finals yet. We just want to play footy and win something. If that means starting from scratch and playing in a shortened season, then so be it. I don’t think the boys are worried about that at all, the main worry is just not getting back and playing any footy.

 

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