Brumbies' future bright despite Super exit

Jul 21, 2017 - 5:31 PM Departing Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham says the club's future is bright despite their quarter-final Super Rugby defeat.

Brumbies star Christian Lealiifano was denied a fairytale comeback in the 35-16 loss, but he will be one of the most important aspects of their push to go one better next season.

After making an inspirational return less than a year after being diagnosed with leukaemia, Lealiifano is set to resume as the Brumbies' chief playmaker, pushing Wharenui Hawera to second in the pecking order after a solid debut season.

Wallabies flanker David Pocock will return from a sabbatical to boost a back row which loses Scott Fardy to Leinster.

Pocock is set to rejoin the Australian conference champions after they exceeded expectations in 2017.

"I think they said that we were going to come fourth in the Australian conference," Larkham said.

"We certainly achieved a few things this year and put ourselves in a really strong position for next year.

"Some guys are moving on from the squad this year but we'll get some new faces in there."

Flanker Chris Alcock, halfback Tomas Cubelli, fullback Aidan Toua as well as backrowers Jarrad Butler and Jordan Smiler will also leave the club.

Incoming coach Dan McKellar has been promoted to the job after five seasons in an assistant's role.

He will have former head coach Laurie Fisher alongside him next year and ending New Zealand's dominance of Australian sides will be a priority after falling short to the Hurricanes in Canberra on Friday night.

Young fullback Tom Banks was the Brumbies' find of the season, with his pace and footwork shining throughout the back half of the year.

Joe Powell earned himself his first Wallabies cap after taking over at halfback with Cubelli sidelined until after the June Test break with a knee injury.

"We've had a number of guys play for the Brumbies for the first time," Larkham said.

"We can certainly be very proud of what we've achieved."

The Brumbies finished with just six wins but were clearly the best Australian team after a diabolical year for the Super Rugby franchises.

They will need to improve to catch up to the Kiwis, who won all 26 trans-Tasman matches.

Source: AAP

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