Brumbies commit to Canberra clubs


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Canberra’s Premier Division John I Dent Cup will benefit from a renewed push to re-introduce CA Brumbies players into the local ACT rugby competition.

Seven CA Brumbies-contracted players have already committed to remaining in Canberra for the club rugby season with that figure expected to increase prior to the end of the 2009 Investec Super 14.

While players’ club allocations are yet to be finalised, Francis Fainifo, Nic Henderson, Christian Lealiifano, Clyde Rathbone, Julian Salvi, James Stannard and John Ulugia will play their club rugby in Canberra.

With a number of other players yet to align with a club for 2009 it is expected that the number of contracted players playing club rugby in Canberra will continue to rise.

Rathbone says he’s pleased to remain in Canberra to play his club football.

‘Canberra’s our home and it didn’t make sense to live here and play somewhere else,’ he said.

‘There are an increasing number of players from around the world seeking out Canberra as a prime destination for playing rugby from club level through to Super 14 and I can only see that trend continuing.

‘Personally, it’s an ideal situation to have immediate year-round access to coaches, strength and conditioning, and medical staff at the Brumbies and play in what is a rapidly improving local competition.

‘I also think we have a responsibility to help strengthen the local competition, try to pass on what we can to particularly younger players and help develop the next generation of rugby players coming through.’

CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend says the aim is to have all players linked with the CA Brumbies playing in the Canberra competition

‘There’s a misconception that you need to play in the metropolitan competitions to be noticed for higher honours,’ he said.

‘We’ll certainly be looking to the local competition to help fill our ranks at the CA Brumbies and I’ve spoken to [Wallaby coach] Robbie Deans who’s assured me that the Canberra competition will be viewed on an equal footing with competitions elsewhere.

‘We’ve made it a pre-requisite for all Tier Two and Three players in the [Brumbies] Academy to play with a Canberra club.

‘We appreciate there are players within the squad who have a history with clubs outside Canberra; loyalty [to these clubs] is something that we’ll certainly respect but our preference is for any player in our program to play in Canberra.

Friend says the confirmed players will make a significant difference to the competition.

‘Our goal is to make the Canberra club competition the strongest in Australia,’ he said. ‘With an eight-team competition proposed for next year it would only take a handful of players to significantly lift the standard of the competition.

‘At this stage seven contracted players have already committed but, with several guys still undecided, that number will almost certainly rise and the likely scenario is that we’ll have at least one or two contracted players spread across each of the local clubs.’

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