Jarrad Butler ready to seize chance with ACT Brumbies against Queensland Reds in Super Rugby
Larkham a future Wallabies coach: Roff
He’s the odd man out in a forward pack full of Wallabies and grand final experience, but ACT Brumbies recruit Jarrad Butler says he’s ready for ”battle” against his former Queensland Reds teammates on Saturday.
Super Rugby rookie Butler is set to be a surprise selection in the Brumbies starting XV for the round-one clash against the Reds at Canberra Stadium.
But the 22-year-old New Zealand-born, Queensland-raised No.8 is unfazed as he prepares to form a back-row combination with Wallabies captains Ben Mowen and David Pocock.
On Thursday, Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham will name his team for a massive opening-round clash against the Reds.
Relatively unknown, Butler is poised to make his mark after moving to Canberra for a fresh start.
”The Brumbies have Wallabies in every position and that lifts the standards for me and all the younger guys,” Butler said.
”It’s a positive and fine by me. It definitely helps with confidence, it gives you a boost. When you’re next to guys like Ben Mowen and David Pocock, it helps you not get overexcited or flustered.”
Butler and Pocock will be the only additions to the Brumbies forward pack which played in the grand final six months ago.
Wallabies outside-centre Tevita Kuridrani will bide his time on the bench after missing pre-season to serve an International Rugby Board suspension.
Pat McCabe, who has broken his neck twice since November 2011, is expected to start at inside-centre while Henry Speight (ribs) and Sam Carter (calf) have been cleared to play.
The Brumbies boast 11 Wallabies in their starting XV, which is in stark contrast to the three Test players they had in a 35-man squad two years ago.
Butler grew up in Wellington wanting to play for the All Blacks. But after moving to the Gold Coast as a 13-year-old and playing for the Australian under-20s, he is eyeing a Wallabies spot.
Powerful No.8 Fotu Auelua’s knee injury has opened the door for Butler to stake his claim as a future star. Auelua, a 120-kilogram monster, is almost impossible to replace.
But 106kg Butler hopes to add his devastating running game to the Brumbies pack.
Butler signed a one-year deal with the Brumbies and moved to the capital to chase more game time after playing 12 games for the Reds in two seasons.
He also teamed up with incumbent Wallabies No.7 Michael Hooper and Queensland flanker Liam Gill in the Australian under-20s in 2011.
”I’m nervous and excited. I wanted to get a chance against the Reds so I’m looking forward to that battle,” Butler said. ”I saw some opportunity at the Brumbies for me.”
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