Cape Town - The Brumbies aren’t your average Australian Super Rugby side made up of creative backs and soft-serve forwards.
Matt Proudfoot says they’re the real deal.
“Very rarely has a team from Australia come to Newlands and we’re the underdogs,” the Stormers forwards coach told the Cape Argus on Tuesday. “The last time that happened was when the Reds visited in 2011.”
That’s an ominous reminder of a 19-6 reverse at Newlands during which the Stormers were shunted at the set-piece and riddled with attacking kicks from Reds halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper.
The Brumbies don’t feature quite as influential a halfback combination, but Proudfoot rates their scrum and lineout very highly.
“The Brumbies have got a better set-piece than the Chiefs,” he said. “They’ve really impressed me and you can see that (forwards coach) Laurie Fisher is fantastic in that department. They’re not just technically good, but they’ve got a good work ethic too.”
The Stormers put up their most convincing set-piece performance of recent memory against the Chiefs a fortnight ago. They held off a determined fightback from the defending champions to break a two-game losing streak and clinch a 36-34 win at Newlands.
Proudfoot is determined to hold the tight five accountable for maintaining this standard on Saturday night, especially after a week off.
“We have to quickly dust the guys off after the bye and make sure they’re in the right frame of mind, we don’t want to take a backward step,” he said. “If you’re in a confused state of mind against a quality team, they’ll pick you to pieces.”
Last week, the Brumbies cut the Sharks to pieces, thanks to a scrum and lineout that served as a highly-effective launchpad for their attack.
“The Brumbies’ set-piece has really given us headaches this week,” added Proudfoot. “Their scrumming was exceptional against the Sharks. (Hooker) Stephen Moore is so technically proficient, he gets his props across the line into the engagement very quickly.
“And their lineout is one of the best out there. (Brumbies captain) Ben Mowen has been incredible, Peter Kimlin has been good, and I was quite surprised that they jumped with the No 8 (Fotu Auelua, 1.89m, 115kgs).
“Our motto is that we’re playing the best team in the competition at the moment, a team that doesn’t make mistakes and we’ll have to up our intensity.”