Brumbies players fight for futures despite uncertainty

Brumbies training 14th March 2017. Josh Mann-Rea. Photo by Karleen Minney. Photo: Karleen MinneyACT Brumbies duo Ben Hyne and Josh Mann-Rea say being stuck in contract limbo will not distract from a mission against the NSW Waratahs, despite officials delaying decisions on Super Rugby’s future.
Nanjing Night Net

The ARU organised a phone hook-up with Australia’s five franchises on Tuesday to debrief the clubs on plans to reinvigorate the competition.

The ARU remains tight-lipped about whether one Australian franchise will be cut or if there are plans to rejig the confusing 18-team, four conference system.

It is believed the meeting didn’t solve any issues and uncertainty off the field will continue for the coming weeks as SANZAAR and the ARU weigh up their options.

On the field the the Brumbies play against the Waratahs in their only derby between teams this season and it should be hyped as a desperation game.

Instead, players are caught in the middle of the off-field drama after the ARU asked Australian teams to postpone contract talks with any non-Wallabies players until a Super Rugby decision is made.

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???It leaves players like Hyne and Mann-Rea in the anxious position of playing for their futures without knowing if there will be a etam in Canberra next year.

Hyne is keen to continue his career rise after playing two games for the Brumbies while hooker Mann-Rea, 36, will keep playing for as his body allows him to.

However, neither have been able to gauge their contract prospects and it is not known when they will have a clear picture for 2018.

If one Australian team – either the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels or Western Force – it will leave more than 30 players searching for new homes.

“It’s a decision that I can’t do anything about, nor can anyone else in the playing group or the coaches,” Hyne said.

“It’s up to SANZAAR and how they handle the situation. In terms of coming off contract, you get on the field each week trying to impress and improve to get re-signed.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the Brumbies or if it goes south, strong performances on the field will go in your favour.

“Even the boys that are contracted might have to go elsewhere, it’s not just guys who are trying to come on to the scene. It’s no good.”

Mann-Rea made his Super Rugby debut as a 31-year-old and has established himself as the Brumbies’ first-choice rake after the departure of Stephen Moore.

Mann-Rea, who drives more than hour just to get to Brumbies training every day, joked his country lifestyle in Harden helped him avoid all of the talk about Super Rugby’s future.

“We can’t help that decision so we’re just focusing on playing good footy and trying to win the conference this year,” Mann-Rea said.

“It’s a hard one, it’s something SANZAAR and World Rugby are trying to figure out a way to make it work.

“I think {Super Rugby] is pretty good. It’s a tough comp and I think the five teams work in Australia.

But Mann-Rea conceded the players wanted more Australian derbies. The Brumbies play the Waratahs and the Force just once each this year.

“Local derbies are always good, I think they’re good for Australian rugby,” Mann-Rea said.

“I’m a big one for Aussie derbies. It gets a bit of pride back in the state so I’d like a few more if it’s possible.”

The Brumbies can continue negotiations with their Wallabies stars, including Tevita Kuridrani, in the hope of re-signing them for next year.

The Brumbies will also push ahead with their coaching recruitment plans as they brace for the departure of Stephen Larkham at the end of the year.

Former Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill started his new job on Monday as general manager of professional rugby and pathways and will take charge of the Brumbies’ recruitment and retention.

Waratahs captain and former Brumby Michael Hooper jumped to the defence of the Canberra side’s future on Tuesday as he prepares to play his 100th Super Rugby game.

“From being a part of the [Brumbies], it has a rich history and people are very passionate about our capital territory having a team,” Hooper said.

“So I’m not sure what going to happen but the Brumbies is a strong club and one that you would like to see continue in the comp.

“I think Australia can have five teams in the competition. We want guys having as much chance to wear a Wallabies jersey as possible so I’m all in favour of having five teams.”

SUPER RUGBY ROUND FOUR

Saturday: NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, 7.45pm.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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