CHRIS DUTTON July 09, 2012
Stephen Moore will play his 100th Super Rugby match when the Brumbies take on the Blues at home on Saturday night. Photo: Colleen Petch
A capacity home crowd, a finals spot and the chance to celebrate a century milestone – ACT Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen says there will be no shortage of motivation as his team closes in on a drought-breaking playoff spot.
The Brumbies can secure their place in the finals for the first time since 2004 if they beat the Auckland Blues in front of what is expected to be a full Canberra Stadium.
But adding extra spice to the occasion and the build-up is hooker Stephen Moore's 100th Super Rugby match.
Moore has been one of the club's most consistent performers since joining the Brumbies in 2009.
?A Brumbies win could effectively knock Moore's former team – the Queensland Reds – out of the finals and end their title hopes.
But after waiting almost a decade, more than 60 Wallabies Tests and 100 Super Rugby caps for a finals berth, Mowen said the Brumbies would do everything possible to help Moore celebrate.
"It's a massive achievement for him, but in true [Moore] fashion you won't even know it's happening," Mowen said.
"He won't make a big deal out of it . . . he's an extremely selfless person and player and he always puts others first.
"We'd love to give him that little bit extra and that's what we'll be trying to do."
The Brumbies could be boosted this week with the possible return of destructive No.8 Fotu Auelua and Wallabies winger Joseph Tomane.
Both were given an extra week to recover to ensure they were fit for the finals, but they will need to get through every training session before being thrust back into the action.
The Brumbies played well below their best against the NSW Waratahs two nights ago, but they did enough to hold on for a four-point win.
They're locked in a battle with the Reds for the top spot in the Australian conference, but while the process to figure who finishes first seems complicated, the Brumbies' mission is simple – win.
Coach Jake White said his team was nervous and had "the jitters" before taking on the Waratahs but Mowen was confident the win would serve as a building block for end-of-season success.
"We've got huge confidence in the way we defend . . . to still win the game and have the composure from being 15-9 down [against the Waratahs] is extremely impressive," Mowen said.
"We've got guys that play well within our structure, but we've got guys who are just great football players. We're aware of the scenarios, we have to be. But the beauty is if we win, we're in.
"And going into a final, I just want to win anyway."
White said returning to what helped the Brumbies in their golden era of two championships had helped his team rise to the top.
"One thing in South Africa we always envied was the legend stories of [how the Brumbies] live together in Kingston, they eat together at the same coffee shop and we went back to that," White said.
"We live together, we get to work at 7 in the morning and leave at 6 in the evening, but everything is planned and everything is top class.
"If you're talking rugby at breakfast and lunch, then you get a reward in those tight situations.
"It's everything behind the scenes which is helping us develop a plan for knock-out rugby."