THE availability of Brumbies stars Robbie Coleman and Tevita Kuridrani has left Queanbeyan Whites coach Wayne Southwell with a welcome selection headache in the lead-up to the John I Dent Cup finals.
Southwell is yet to settle on his preferred backline combination with Coleman and Kuridrani set to slot into what is shaping up as an imposing Queanbeyan backline.
Coleman is at ease at fly-half, inside-centre or fullback while Kuridrani is equally adept in the centres or on the flank.
Southwell already has a host of the club’s 2010 premiership winning players in centres Josh Goodall and Jamie Marmont, fullback Tyler Stevens and winger Rob Beath at his disposal.
“The beauty of it is all of these guys have played a lot of big games together before,” Southwell said. “Guys like Josh, Jamie and Robbie, they’ve won finals together and that connection is only going to get even stronger over the next few weeks.
“Tevita has played really well at outside-centre [this year] and Robbie can pop up anywhere so it’s just going to come down to what works out best as an overall combination.”
Coleman’s introduction into the Whites backline is a particular bonus with the former Australian under-20s representative bringing two years of Super Rugby experience back to Campese Field.
“It’s not just what he does himself, everyone else around him gets a lot more confidence from playing with Robbie,” Southwell said.
“The other side of things is that he draws a lot of defenders to him which means he’s providing more space for the other guys just by being out there. What he does off the ball is just as important as what he does with it.”
While Queanbeyan has been strengthened in the backline, the club’s forwards stocks have taken a hit with Brumbies-contracted lock Leon Power taking up a contract with New Zealand club Bay of Plenty.
Hooker Anthony Hegarty, meanwhile, is also unlikely to be seen in Queanbeyan colours again this season after his midyear signing with French club Grenoble.
The Whites have the bye this weekend before taking on Tuggeranong at Viking Park on Saturday week. Queanbeyan is currently clinging to fourth-position on the standings, one point clear of the hard chasing Uni-Norths.
The Whites will likely need to win at least two of their final three games against Tuggeranong, Royals and second-placed Wests in order to feature in the finals.