After surviving an epic finish against the Hurricanes in Canberra to extend their season, the Brumbies take on the table-topping Chiefs on Saturday intent on becoming the first Australian team to win a Super Rugby finals match in New Zealand.
The Western Force-bound White is among six players plus two coaches leaving the club at season’s end and lock Tom Hooper says the Brumbies’ opportunity to achieve a feat never previously attained is providing just the motivation required.
“I saw a stat on TV that no Australian team had won in 14 (finals) games in New Zealand and we definitely want to put an end to that,” Hooper said on Monday.
“Someone’s got to be the first so why can’t it be us? The Brumbies have a really good history in finals footy so hopefully we can keep that going.
“There’s a lot to play for.”
But Hooper says as desperate as the Brumbies are to win the trophy, they yearn just as strongly to keep their campaign going for another two weeks, knowing the squad is breaking up.
“Teams that talk about culture are often teams that don’t really have it. I’m not going to sit here and say how good our culture is but the guy who has been our captain is moving on in two weeks,” he said.
“We’ve got two really quality coaches moving on at the end of the season and we’re a tight-knit group. It’s the last time our 40-man squad – players and coaches – are going to be together so we want to share some special memories with those guys.
“We want to be a team in 10 years getting back together, getting on the beers, celebrating our 10-year reunion of something pretty special. We just have a mateship that extends beyond the field.”
After losing last year’s semi-final to the Blues in Auckland by one point, the Brumbies know winning across the Tasman is possible.
Stephen Larkham’s side also plan to borrow some of Queensland’s game plan after the Reds upset the Chiefs in New Plymouth last month before pushing them hard again in a 29-20 quarter-final loss on Saturday at Waikato.
“Whatever Queensland did, they did it well. They beat them once and went close last week,” Hooper said.
“So we’ve just got to see what the Reds did, do it a bit better and put our own Brumbies spin on it, our own Brumbies charm, and hopefully that will do the job.”