Aquis Brumbies co-captain Jarrad Butler believes the 2014 runners-up will benefit from former Australia Sevens players in Mauritius, while former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was delighted to link up with the Africa Pacific Dragons management team
June 16, 2016: Jarrad Butler believes the presence of former Australia Sevens players Robbie Coleman and Michael Wells will help the Aquis Brumbies as they bid to live up to their favourites tag at this weekend’s World Club 10s in Mauritius.
Brumbies finished runners-up at the first World Club 10s in Singapore two years ago and this time have retained seven of those players in a 16-man squad featuring 15 contracted Super Rugby stars.
Coleman, 25, is one of the seven from Singapore 2014 and will co-captain the side in Mauritius with Butler, the 24-year-old who has developed into one of Australia’s most promising back rowers and is frequently touted as a future Wallaby.
Butler admitted the Brumbies were under pressure to win the trophy they narrowly failed to win two years ago, when the side were pipped in the final by the Blues, but said the presence of Coleman and Wells was a big plus.
“I think as a group we want to go well. We’ve got a lot of guys who are contracted Super Rugby players and have been training hard for a long time in 15s,” Butler said.
“However, we’ve already had a couple of sessions to prepare for the 10s and have guys like Robbie Coleman and Michael Wells who have played Australia Sevens, so they’ve been really helpful in terms of strategy and things like that. We’re really happy to be here and hope to put our best foot forward over the weekend.”
Butler said the all-Australia clash with Western Force in Pool A could be among the highlights of on Saturday’s group stage.
“We’re looking forward to playing Force in the pool,” Butler said. “Force have got a really strong team – some Super Rugby guys and some young Future Force guys wanting to impress, so we know they’ll be up for it. It’ll be really tough, like all the games.”
Pool A also features three-time European champions RC Toulon and an Italian All Stars side including several South Africans and New Zealanders – including captain Chris Smylie – as well as former Ireland centre James Downey.
The presence of Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia and former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer in the Africa Pacific Dragons’ management team have made the invitational side one to watch in Pool B. The group also features Cell C Sharks of South Africa, English champions Saracens and French invitational side Euskadi.
Meyer, the APDs’ technical advisor in Mauritius, arrived on Wednesday and lined up at Thursday’s captains’ press conference with Genia, head coach Steve Jackson, team manager Hale T-Pole and team captain Jimmy Cowan, who won 51 caps for the All Blacks.
Meyer, who led the Springboks to third place in last year’s Rugby World Cup, said: “It’s great that the World Club 10s is in Mauritius, as this type of event really helps grow the game in other nations. I know people from South Africa often come here for holiday, so for me it’s good to see that rugby’s growing here.
“There are many great players in this event, as you can see with the captains. I’m not a specialist in 10s, but I think it’s a great game and I think it will grow.”
Cowan, 34, joked that he was looking forward to watching the management team playing some beach rugby, but also admitted he was looking forward to working with Meyer and already had a personal connection to the rest of the side’s coaching staff.
“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Heyneke Meyer and he’s very well respected in world rugby. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas over the next couple of days and getting to know him away from rugby, too,” Cowan said.
“I played with Hale in provincial and Super Rugby, so it’s good to be with him again. Steve was my captain when I started playing provincial rugby in New Zealand, so I’m still learning from him!
“I’ve played a lot of rugby against Will in internationals and on the Super Rugby stage, too, so it’s good to see my wee mate again. We’ve had some tough matches, so it’s good to be on the same side this time around. It’s great to work with these guys and hopefully we can get the job done as players on the pitch.”
The 2016 World Club 10s is sponsored by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Beachcomber Hotels, Air Mauritius, Emtel, Pepsi, MC Vision, Ciel Group, Impact Productions, BRM (official watch), Samurai (official ball), City Sport, Otayo, Tropic Knits and Fortis Clinique Darné.
The World Club 10s will be broadcast live in Australia on BEIN Sports (Channel 513). Owned and organised by Carinat Marketing, the tournament is sanctioned by World Rugby, Rugby Afrique, Rugby union Mauritius and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Mauritius).
World Club 10s, Anjalay Stadium, Mauritius; June 18-19, 2016
Time (18/06) Pool Match
10:00-10:24 A RC Toulon (France) v Aquis Brumbies (Australia)
10:24-10:48 A Italian All Stars v Western Force (Australia)
10:48-11:12 B Cell C Sharks (South Africa) v Africa Pacific Dragons
11:12-11:36 B Euskadi (France) v Saracens (England)
13:12-13:36 A RC Toulon (France) v Italian All Stars
13:36-14:00 A Aquis Brumbies (Australia) v Western Force (Australia)
14:00-14:24 B Cell C Sharks (South Africa) v Euskadi (France)
14:24-14:48 B Africa Pacific Dragons v Saracens (England)
16:48 - 17:12 A Italian All Stars v Aquis Brumbies (Australia)
17:12-17:36 A Western Force (Australia) v RC Toulon (France)
17:36-18:00 B Euskadi (France) v Africa Pacific Dragons
18:00-18:24 B Saracens (England) v Cell C Sharks (South Africa)