Fans of the Brumbies and regional rugby are in for a treat on February 7, when they take on the Waratahs at Goulburn’s Workers Arena.
Announced in October, the match will serve as an opportunity for both sides to warm into the season and test out new combinations and freshly signed players.
On Friday afternoon, Murray Douglas of the Brumbies and Tom Staniforth of the Waratahs took to the Workers Arena in Goulburn to promote the match, and both expressed their excitement about what will inevitably be hotly-contested clash.
“We’re really looking forward to coming here and hopefully there’ll be a big crowd cheering us on,” Douglas said.
“Hopefully people can bring the atmosphere and we’re looking forward to a good game.
“Before I got to the Brumbies, I’d obviously heard that Brumbies-Waratahs is one of the great rivalries in rugby, so I can’t wait to be a part of that, and I know everyone in Canberra’s looking forward to that as well.”
Staniforth agreed, and said that he expected the match to be “something special”.
“[Fans can] expect a very physical match from the Brumbies and ‘Tahs. Historically it’s always been a very good contest, [with] some good running rugby which both teams will enjoy playing.”
The Waratahs and the Brumbies have begun pre-season training, and although both Staniforth and Douglas have had lighter workloads due to injury, they said that both sides were preparing for physically demanding 2019 seasons.
“Pre-season’s been tough,” Staniforth said.
“I’m in rehab at the moment, but the boys are coming back to the facility and looking buggered every session. I feel a bit guilty for not actually training, but they look exhausted so it should be a good test for both teams. It’ll be good to see where both teams are at before the season starts.”
The match will serve as a good opportunity for both teams to gauge where they are at leading into 2019, and it will also provide the younger players a chance to impress selectors.
In an interview with the Goulburn Post in November, former Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson said that it was crucial that the team continue to support rugby in regional areas, and playing matches for the local crowds is just one such way to do so.
“We’re a community club with an elite team, so we really need to be very active in the community, and Goulburn’s a big part of that,” Thomson said.
“It’s important that there’s a real connection between the community and the professional, and the professional and the community.”
The Goulburn Rugby Union Football Club played a significant role in the organisation of the match, and are thrilled that local rugby league will receive such a strong boost.