Sports

Brumbies skip Christmas to keep training

The Brumbies have proven their commitment to winning back-to-back Super Rugby AU titles with some players skipping Christmas with their families to ensure they didn’t miss training.

Five players, including promising young five-eighth Bayley Kuenzle, headed home prematurely from their Sydney-based families to ensure they didn’t have to spend 14 days in quarantine with COVID-19 cases on the rise in NSW.

“It was a bit of a curve ball for a few of the boys but as always they had a great attitude,” coach Dan McKellar said on Wednesday.

“It was tough on the players to miss Christmas and tough on their families … but it’s another great example of how our players just adapt and get on with it and there was no complaining.

“They understood it was for the team and for them individually to avoid quarantine and live life as normally as we can so it was something they had to do.”

The Wallabies players among them are on an extended break having finished their Tri Nations campaign on December 6 and will join the squad mid month.

The Brumbies have made few changes to the squad that beat Queensland in the Super Rugby AU final in September, with the most notable departure being ex-Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani to the Western Force.

They have recruited lock-backrower James Tucker from the Auckland Blues, as well as outside back Reece Tapine and tighthead prop Archer Holz, with almost half the squad aged 23 or younger.

Tucker, 26, is a former Junior All Black, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs in 2016 before stints in Europe and Japan.

The Brumbies will play their first trial against the NSW Waratahs in Bowral in the Southern Highlands on January 30.

They open the season on February 19 in Perth against the Force, with the game following the Queensland Reds and Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.

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