Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano wants to be more bossy. Photo: Jay Cronan Force acting coach Dave Wessels thinks a new club will be good for centre Kyle Godwin. Photo: Paul Kane
Dave Wessels is disappointed flanker Chris Alcock is leaving the club. Photo: Jay Cronan
Who’s the boss? ACT Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano believes he needs to be more of one as the Super Rugby province prepares for their qualifying final against the Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium on Friday.
And Western Force acting coach Dave Wessels believes Kyle Godwin’s expected move to Canberra will be a good one for the centre.
Lealiifano was disappointed with the Brumbies’ scrappy 24-10 victory over the Force on Saturday, which secured him a spot in the first round of the Super Rugby finals.
But he said that everyone would be “buzzing” when they arrive at the club on Monday morning.
The playmaker felt he needed to take the game by the scruff of the neck after they failed to implement their attacking plan against the Force.
He’ll be looking to change that against the Highlanders who they dominated in every way except on the scoreboard when the two teams met in round 10.
They lost 23-10 in Invercargill despite having 73 per cent of possession in the wet conditions.
“We came with a clear focus and a plan with the way we wanted to play [against the Force], Lealiifano said. “I guess that’s what’s probably the most disappointing that we didn’t really execute what we wanted to, but we’ve got another week to prepare now and get it right [for the Highlanders].
“Obviously the pressure that the Western Force put on us [also affected our execution], which is probably good for us heading into next week to be able to handle the defensive pressure that teams are putting on us.
“We’ve just got to adapt better in attack. I think our attack got a bit lost at times there and as a game controller it was disappointing on my end to not boss the boys around enough.”
Godwin has been linked with a move to the Brumbies to help replace departing inside centre Matt Toomua, who will join English club Leicester.
His Force teammate Chris Alcock is moving to Canberra as cover for star flanker David Pocock, who is taking a sabbatical from rugby in 2017.
Wessels said the Brumbies would need to play better against the Highlanders than they did against the Force, but he hoped they went on to win the title.
He felt the Force were embarking on a “journey” and was disappointed Godwin and Alcock wouldn’t be part of that.
From the side that lost to the Brumbies, they will also lose prop Guy Millar and lock Rory Walton.
“The Brumbies are losing much more high-profile players than we are. I think Chris and Guy and Kyle and Rory … have been a massive part of our team,” Wessels said.
“We just spoke in the change room, they will always be a part of our team. I think particularly for Kyle, a move is going to be a good thing for him, not just from a rugby perspective but from a lifestyle perspective.
“He’s excited about being away from Perth, he’s always lived in Perth, so the opportunity for him to experience something a bit different is going to be good for him.
“Having said that, what we feel like, especially in our backs, [who] are a pretty young backline, that is really starting to gel and work together.
“We definitely feel that we’re at a start of a journey and we’re sorry we can’t take some of those guys along on the journey, but it doesn’t change where we feel we want to go.”
SUPER RUGBY QUARTER-FINALS
Friday: ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 6pm. Tickets available from Ticketek. Members on sale Sunday, general public Wednesday.