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Brumbies try to boost not so Super NZ run

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017 Matt Coughlan

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has challenged his players to improve their dismal recent Super Rugby history against New Zealand sides as they prepare for a crunch match against the Highlanders.

Saturday night's match at GIO Stadium shapes as a golden opportunity for the the Brumbies to extend their winning streak to three and begin to correct their poor record against Kiwi teams.

Since 2015, the Brumbies have beaten New Zealand sides twice in 10 matches and have been dumped from the finals by Kiwi opposition for the past two years.

In the same period they have won 13 and lost three against Australian opponents including a record nine consecutive derby victories, capped by last week's 28-12 triumph over the Waratahs.

"There's been a big emphasis in the pre-season on trying to beat New Zealand teams," Larkham said.

"When you talk about the conference system, the important games are certainly the derbies between your conference teams but we want to win each week.

"We have a poor record against the Kiwi sides over the last couple of years that we certainly want to turn around."

The Brumbies aren't alone in their struggle against teams from across the Tasman.

Of the 25 matches between Australian and New Zealand teams last year, the Brumbies laid claim to one of the three victories against the Kiwis.

While the Brumbies enter the round as conference leaders and the only Australian team inside the overall top 12, Larkham doesn't see his side as flag-bearers for the nation.

"We don't represent Australian teams, we represent this area and this organisation," Larkham said.

"We're not going out there to play for Australian rugby, we're going out there to play for the Brumbies."

A cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the Brumbies, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels as another week rolls on without a SANZAAR announcing if an Australian team is to be axed.

Earlier in the week the Brumbies issued a "call to arms" to their supporters to show their support by attending the match against the Highlanders.

Larkham said a big crowd would prove Canberra and surrounds wanted the Brumbies' future guaranteed.

BRUMBIES V NEW ZEALAND TEAMS (W-L record)

2017 - 0-1

2016 - 1-5

2015 - 1-4

BRUMBIES V AUSTRALIAN TEAMS

2017 - 2-0

2016 - 6-0

2015 - 5-3

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