Gandalf gambles on Gregan

Brumbies coach Gandalf Fisher will give George Gregan his full backing this year – if he plays well, that is.

Fisher will rely heavily on ageing Wallabies, George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Stirling Mortlock this season. Gregan, in particular, is under huge pressure after his mediocre displays for the Wallabies in 2005.

“Certainly at this stage, all he has to do is just play the appropriate football during the Super 14 and I’ll certainly back him to have a very good competition,” said Fisher.

The Brumbies are away to the Force in Perth on Friday before two matches against the Bulls and Stormers in South Africa.

“It is important we get away to a good start and put in some strong performances on the road before we get back to Canberra Stadium,” Fisher said. “Ideally we would like to return from South Africa with three wins from three.

“Our record on the road, particularly in South Africa, is a strong focus for us this season and we would like to get over there with a first-up win over the Force under our belt.”

The Brumbies’ strength lies in their attacking backs – Matt Giteau, Clyde Rathbone, Larkham, Mortlock and Mark Gerrard – while George Smith is expected to play at No 8 to accommodate former Queensland flanker Daniel Heenan and Australian U21 star Julian Salvi.