Super Rugby Round 14 - Waratahs v Brumbies
Brumbies unfazed by leaked coaches email
May 17, 2013
Jesse Mogg and the Brumbies were a vision in yellow against the Waratahs in round four © Getty Images
Brumbies coach Jake White says the divisive leaked email that has caused uproar in Australian rugby circles is not a distraction ahead of the Super Rugby grudge match against New South Wales Waratahs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Australia's five provincial coaches were each asked by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to select their preferred Test squad based on Super Rugby form; Ewen McKenzie (Queensland Reds), Damien Hill (Melbourne Rebels), Michael Foley (Western Force) and White replied, and those emails were subsequently leaked to a News Limited newspaper.
"I don't really want to sit here and be talking in the media about what I think should and shouldn't have happened," White said when asked on Thursday about the controversy. "We answered the question and picked our teams. At that time it was to assist the national cause in terms of what our feelings were.
"There wasn't much detail given to it in terms of ... was it a team we pick for Robbie or is it a team that we would pick if we were coaching; it was just merely a team we thought we would pick as individual coaches. I don't think it's going to worry our players. We don't talk about those things. We pride ourselves as a Brumbies team that plays as a Brumbies team. All the individual things that happen as by-products of that are because you play well as a team."
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White said that inexperience at Test level could count against many of his players when Deans on Sunday afternoon names his initial 25-man squad to face the British & Irish Lions series. "I think it's early days still," he said. "Maybe we won't get as many players [selected] in the beginning now, and that's based on the fact that Robbie has said he wants to pick experienced players - and I understand that. If that means some of our younger guys who haven't got Test match experience miss out, that's the way it is."
The Brumbies thumped the Waratahs 35-6 in Super Rugby round four, and they sit 11 points clear of their bitter rivals on the Super Rugby ladder. But White is adamant the Waratahs deserve to enter the round 14 fixture as favourites.
"We're the underdog," White said. "We're the young brother, we're the small town [team]. The bookies have made them favourites. They've got form, they've got 1045 Super Rugby caps in their team, and they've probably got more Wallabies caps in their team than we've got Super Rugby caps ... there's no reason why they shouldn't be favourites with that pack of forwards. We know that we're going to have to play well in order to win this game."