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‘We tried to work with them’: Brumbies reject Wallabies’ request to rest players

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The Brumbies have named a full-strength side to face the Sunwolves this weekend, despite requests from Rugby Australia that three Wallabies be rested.

David Pocock, Scott Sio and Alan Alaalatoa will start Sunday's game at Canberra Stadium in open defiance of the wishes of the governing body.

The forwards were three out of eight Brumbies named in the Wallabies squad to face Ireland in Brisbane next Saturday and coach Michael Cheika was concerned about the six-day turnaround.

Rugby Australia asked the club to leave them out of the game on Sunday, but Brumbies chief executive Michael Thomson said there was simply not enough warning given and clearly did not appreciate the request.

"We've known the Super Rugby schedule for approximately eight months," Thomson said.

"This request was made eight days ago and these three players are the only ones being asked to stand down across the whole Wallabies squad."

Negotiations have been ongoing and Thomson said the club suggested a review of the training and playing loads of the players, but had not received a response before naming their side for the weekend.

"We've tried to work with them and we've tried to do what we think is in the best interests of our team and rugby in general," he said.

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"We certainly hope [there is no bad blood]. We think that we've behaved appropriately and we would hope that Rugby Australia recognises the challenges that they've placed on us."

Coach Dan McKellar said it was an unwelcome distraction for the side but there was never any question that Pocock, Sio and Alaalatoa wanted to play for the Brumbies.

He said he had no plans to run them into the ground on the weekend so they can remain at least somewhat fresh for the Test, but his main concern was the club and the local fans.

"People pay their memberships and they want to see the Pococks, the Sios, the Alaalatoas and they want to see them week in and week out," he said.

"You'd like to think that [the fans have] seen that we've stuck strong and we're making a decision on what we think is in the best interests of the club."

The Brumbies will be aiming for their fifth win of the season against the last-placed Sunwolves.

Original Article

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