Super Rugby: Brumbies backs are best since 2004 - Roff

Photo / Gettys Images.
Photo / Gettys Images.

Wallabies great Joe Roff believes the current crop of Brumbies backs are on the verge of eclipsing the star-studded 2004 backline that won the Super rugby championship.

That 2004 backline was the greatest an Australian Super Rugby franchise has ever seen, featuring George Gregan, Stephen Larkham, Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock, Clyde Rathbone, Mark Gerrard and Roff himself.

In total, the seven of them notched up 548 tests over the course of their careers.

But Roff says the current outfit, including Wallabies Nic White, Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano, Tevita Kuridrani, Pat McCabe, Jesse Mogg and Wallaby-in-waiting Henry Speight, are just as good.

He highlighted the combination between White, Toomua and Lealiifano as "world class", just as it had been between Gregan and Larkham - who is head coach.

"It's as exciting a backline ... as the Brumbies have ever seen," Roff said.

It's a big call from the 86-test World Cup-winning outside back.

Yet his words wouldn't come lightly, as 2004 was the year Roff farewelled the franchise with a fairytale 47-38 win over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final - scoring a double to set a new record for most tries in the competition.

"At the time we became Wallabies ... no one had given anyone from ACT a chance to become a Wallaby," he said.

"In isolation, a single player in that [2004] Brumbies backline wouldn't succeed or become a world-class player unless they had world-class players around him.

"And that's what's exciting for me. They're there now - there's a whole backline of them."

Roff said he had never seen so much depth in a Brumbies backline, which also boasts a resurgent Rathbone, plus reliable performers Andrew Smith and Robbie Coleman.

"Any team that actually does aspire to a championship needs to have players who can play in the final of Super Rugby from one through to 28 in the squad."

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