ACT Brumbies backs coach Stephen Larkham insists the team has shelved talks of chasing a four-try bonus point against the Western Force and he urged the players to focus on fine-tuning combinations.
The lure of a bonus-point win in Perth on Saturday night is impossible to ignore as the Brumbies eye off a finish in the top two on the ladder.
If results go their way, the Brumbies could finish first or second and be within one game of a grand final appearance.
But Larkham said the Brumbies had not been seduced by the prospect of rising up the ladder and would resist the temptation to stray from their plan.
”It’s pointless focusing on a bonus point when the priority is to get things working for the finals. We have to find our combinations,” Larkham said.
”We need to win this game to play well in the finals. No one is looking at the ladder, we’ve been really focused this week.”
The Brumbies have tinkered with their playbook in the four-week bye to add new moves to their game in a bid to boost their chances of play-off success.
Larkham admitted the new moves might not click immediately with the Brumbies injecting nine players at training this week after they returned from Wallabies duties.
But instead of a post-British and Irish Lions tour letdown, Larkham said the Wallabies loss had ”strengthened the team attitude”.
The Brumbies won their last three games before the extended Super Rugby break and secured a historic win against the Lions last month when they became the first Australian provincial team in 42 years to beat the tourists.
Captain Ben Mowen is back with the Brumbies after making his Test debut for the Wallabies and playing a starring role in the series loss to the Lions.
Mowen admitted losing to the Lions was ”emotionally flattening”, but said the Brumbies’ Wallabies contingent was desperate for Super Rugby success.
”It’s been exciting to be back … the Brumbies game has gone way beyond where it was when we left for Wallabies camp,” Mowen said.
”The group is highly energised … they’re driving standards that in the past were driven by senior players. They’ve created all the momentum and now we’re adding our enthusiasm to the group.
”Losing the Test series the way we did was draining. But you just want that bad memory out of your head. We stewed on our missed chance with the Brumbies last year, but now we can get stuck in.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.